From the author of 1491 - the best-selling study of the pre-Columbian Americas - a deeply engaging new history that explores the most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs.
More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed totally different suites of plants and animals. Columbus’s voyages brought them back together - and marked the beginning of an extraordinary exchange of flora and fauna between Eurasia and the Americas. As Charles Mann shows, this global ecological tumult - the “Columbian Exchange” - underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest generation of research by scientists, Mann shows how the creation of this worldwide network of exchange fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Manila and Mexico City - where Asia, Europe, and the new frontier of the Americas dynamically interacted - the center of the world.
In 1493, Charles Mann gives us an eye-opening scientific interpretation of our past, unequaled in its authority and fascination.
©2011 Charles C. Mann (P)2011 Random House Audio
The information about the "Columbian Exchange" in all its complexity is presented in interesting and well-documented detail.
n/a This is a work of historical and geographical analysis, synthesis, and interpretation.
No--although I look forward to listening each time I pick it up.
As non-fiction goes, this book is easy to follow and remember. There is a fair amount of repetition but that aids the listener; references to future chapters are helpful.
I have been quoting information I have learned and have recommended this book to others since the day I began to listen to it.
Well-researched with interesting details.
Annoying pompous tone and bad pronunciation--whoever pronounces the Qing dynasty as "king" dynasty?
Yes; not sure
1493 is more world focused than 1491 and that's probably what makes it feel so much more unfocused than Charles Mann's original. However, that doesn't turn out to be a bad thing just a different thing.
I enjoyed it as much I did 1491, but differently.
Also, the audionbook narration is well within the bounds of acceptable. I did find that playing it on "faster" rather than "normal" on my iPod went down better (though I usually listen to books at normal speed).
Great account with many details of the post Columbus expedition. All those details are great in print but when read by Mr. Dean it gets a little tiresome. I decided to buy both the audio book and the print (author should be happy!), so I could look at the maps and photos, which are a very important part of the story. Mr. Dean needs to work on his pronunciation of Spanish words, but the audio editing is great. The book is very informative and with so many details, it's like an encyclopedia and it's difficult to follow only with the audio.
I have to give this 4 stars because it's just so darn impressive. The author clearly did his research, and he made the interwoven stories fascinating. Sometimes, however, the history became too complex to hold my attention. I would imagine that historians would find this more compelling.
I came away from the listen with a newly-found appreciation for how the Colombian Exchange began to interconnect the world, and I'm amazed at the impact that exchange of commerce had on so many millions of people. Who knew that the chief reason I live in the U.S. is because my ancestors fled famine-struck Ireland because Columbus discovered America and the potato was discovered in Peru! Huh!
I definitely recommend this book. I wish it could have been more concise, or attempted to cover fewer outcomes of the Exchange, but I'll have to trust that the author is more of an expert than I am.
What I liked best about this book was the narrative thread, and the way the author (who I think is a journalist, not a historian) developed his 'arguments' (really, his 'story') with an eye to keeping the reader interested.
What I liked least was that he spent very little time justifying his positions, providing sources, or describing any uncertainty about facts or interpretations. My own background on this period is limited, but some of what is baldly presented as 'fact' here, even I know is controversial (e.g., China's wealth in the 16th century, China's naval power). If you are considering reading this book, you should understand it is not a scholarly work, but is instead a journalist's attempt to synthesize and popularize scholarly work.
And Random House -- 'King' dynasty? Really? Can't you give your narrators a pronunciation guide?
Expected big things from this book. I'm a fan of historical writing but this was too dry for me. I plodded through it but it was a chore. You really need to have a passion for this subject to be captivated here.
This book is extensively researched, well written and well read. I have never been very interested in history books, but this book ties history to biology. It's one of those very rare well written science books. It provides a lot of hard information sprinkled with enough politics and economics to make a great story.
This book presents a very entertaining portrayal of little known historical trivia of factors of change caused by the Columbian Exchange between the new world and the old, after Columbus discovery in 1492. Most of these interesting stories of change and interconnectedness between the new and old worlds will have likely not been known by the reader prior to reading this book. Focuses to a large degree food crop exchanges, trade, exploration, culture. Although the stories are entertaining, I was expecting all of these various stories to be tied up into a conclusion forming the authors overall thesis for explaining all of these events. But this may not have been the intended purpose of the book, and it is still worth reading just for noting the interesting stories and observations by the author.
This book helped put things in historical perspective. Much like Gun Germs and Steel, the book describes how Geography, population, and psychology intermixed to form the world today. The best example is that African's natural resistence to malaria made them more attractive as slaves then Europeans, which had been used till they kept dying of malaria.
The neutrality of the information. There was not much slant, bias, or commentary in the text. The author did a good job of presenting the facts.
This book would not translate well to film.
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