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
A reader of biographies, history, and other non-fiction
After reading this author’s 1491 – a book on pre-Columbian America – I downloaded an unabridged audio of this volume. Again – a fascinating story of the world becoming intertwined, with people, plants and germs moving from one continent to another, with massive consequences for everyone involved and their descendants. Again – an utter lack of author’s self-control as he goes off on one tangent after another. Some of those digressions are quite interesting, for the example a long one on the Irish potato famine, but hey! – it was over 300 years after Columbus. Your book is not called ‘interesting stories I’ve heard that pop into my mind.’
To me, a great example of a book of this genre is The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia’s Founding. Robert Hughes moved his story forward at a good clip, with multiple vignettes quickly returning to the main channel. He pulled it off beautifully, while this author did not. I still recommend his book, just do not get it on audio because with a regular book it is easier to skip its huge number of irrelevant bits.
A truly wonderful book like "1493" deserves more: the reader should have checked the pronunciation of foreign names, for instance.
My reading and listening tastes are eclectic.
This is a very well read book. It is also informative and thought provoking. I loved listening to it and I learned a lot.
I thought this was fascinating listen! The author draws connections between different events through history and shows their global impact. I really enjoyed this book.
"A startling new view of world history"
I have a PhD in history yet the ideas expressed in this work are entirely new to me and challenge much of my previous understanding of the history of globalization. Not only are these ideas plausible but they also force us to rethink much of what we thought we knew. The author Charles Mann builds upon the works of others to synthesize a very accessible and insightful book. I found that narration was also of a very high standard and complimented the work well.
Guns, Germs and Steel. Jared Diamond.
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