Traditionally, Americans learned in school that the ancestors of the people who inhabited the Western Hemisphere at the time of Columbus' landing had crossed the Bering Strait 12,000 years ago; existed mainly in small nomadic bands; and lived so lightly on the land that the Americas were, for all practical purposes, still a vast wilderness. But as Charles C. Mann now makes clear, archaeologists and anthropologists have spent the last 30 years proving these and many other long-held assumptions wrong.
"Awesome Historic Accounting Well Told"
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 the creation a worldwide trade network....
"The top history book of the decade"
How did the lowly potato plant feed the poor across Europe and then cause the deaths of millions? How did the rubber plant enable industrialization? What is the connection between malaria, slavery, and the outcome of the American Revolution? How did the fabled silver mountain of 16th-century Bolivia fund economic development in the flood-prone plains of rural China and the wars of the Spanish Empire? Here is the story of how sometimes the greatest leaps also posed the greatest threats to human advancement.
A companion book for young listeners based on 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, the groundbreaking best seller by Charles C. Mann.