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1493 Audiobook

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Derek 03-31-12
    Derek 03-31-12

    Enthusiast

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    "Worthy sequel to 1491"

    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).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Doerr 11-21-13
    K. Doerr 11-21-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Interesting but limited"

    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?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 11-15-13
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 11-15-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Dry and tedious"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Guelph, Ontario, Canada 09-17-12
    Peter Guelph, Ontario, Canada 09-17-12 Listener Since 2003
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    "Had to abandon ship"
    What disappointed you about 1493?

    Great concept but the writing plods along and the monotonous narrator only made it worse. I abandon very few books but this one just didn't live up to the billing. The author wastes a lot of time listing the achievements and affiliations of everyone cited or quoted. He should have left it for the footnotes and focussed on bringing the story alive. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that this was a PhD thesis and if so, the book editor should have been more assertive about trimming the fat. I wondered at times what the content - such as the interminable description of Chinese commerce - had to do with the Columbian Exchange. If you like books of this nature, try Guns, Germs and Steel instead.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Sacramento, CA, United States 08-20-12
    Barbara Sacramento, CA, United States 08-20-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Globalization has a very long history"
    What did you love best about 1493?

    The information about the "Columbian Exchange" in all its complexity is presented in interesting and well-documented detail.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    n/a This is a work of historical and geographical analysis, synthesis, and interpretation.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    n/a


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No--although I look forward to listening each time I pick it up.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monica New York City, NY 05-26-12
    Monica New York City, NY 05-26-12
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    "Interesting thesis; mediocre reading"
    What did you like best about 1493? What did you like least?

    Well-researched with interesting details.


    If you’ve listened to books by Charles C. Mann before, how does this one compare?

    Annoying pompous tone and bad pronunciation--whoever pronounces the Qing dynasty as "king" dynasty?


    Would you be willing to try another one of Robertson Dean’s performances?

    No


    Could you see 1493 being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes; not sure


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter t Hanzelka 05-21-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Interesting look at unexpected connections"

    The book is provides a intersting look at the biologocal impacts of connecting the Americas to the old world and Asia. Well researched and paced. Enjoyable and thought provoking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Urcuquí, Ecuador 03-19-17
    Rick Urcuquí, Ecuador 03-19-17 Member Since 2013

    In a peaceful, verdant valley on the Equator, the sun always sets at 6, and a good audiobook is always the perfect evening companion

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Magnificent Stowaways"

    Christopher Columbus, and especially the explorers and traders who followed, carried a lot more than settlers in the holds of their creaking wooden ships. Their unseen and unintended cargos would transform both sides of the Atlantic and beyond, in a global, accidental rearrangement of flora, fauna and culture that came to be known as The Columbian Exchange.

    The consequences ranged from trivial to transformational. Sometimes, the world was altered in ways that could never be undone.

    When British ships arrived to take on massive barrels of prized Virginia tobacco, they dumped their ballast – soil from England, containing nightcrawlers that had been entirely killed off in North America by the Ice Age. The result was more than a boon for future bass fishing. It changed the character of the native forest, with important implications for the future of agriculture and an agrarian society, not to mention the prospects for the Native Americans who had prospered on the land the way it was for thousands of years.

    Malaria, the scourge of the tropical Americas, probably came from England, and may have become a significant driver of the slave trade. When shiploads of guano from South America provided the powerful natural fertilizer that coaxed abundant crops from exhausted European fields, they likely also carried the potato blight that killed a million people in Ireland and drove out a million more in The Great Famine of the mid-1800s.

    “1493” is a scholarly work but never pedantic. Charles Mann is careful to separate scientific and historical fact from informed speculation. Robertson Dean delivers a clear, precise reading. A lesser narrator might complicate the wealth of information here.

    Immerse yourself in the arc of history that transports you to the Jamestown settlement, Bolivian silver mines, and ancient Chinese dynasties. Or just turn to its 18 hours whenever you have a few minutes, and learn something amazing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Doctor Change Oakland, CA 01-28-17
    Doctor Change Oakland, CA 01-28-17 Member Since 2016

    Doctor Change

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    "Brilliant and timely"

    A tour de force of research and narrative and an important corrective to critics of globalization -- left or right -- who think it is something new or something that can be undone. Well written too!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taylor Smith 11-08-16
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    "Lots of jumping around, but a wealth of info."

    My only criticism of the book is that it can be difficult to keep up with due to the large list of people, places, time periods, etc. But of course it doesn't read like a novel because it isn't a novel. Instead this book covers a broad spectrum of fascinating revelations surrounding the history of the Columbian Exchange. At the end of the day, it's worth the read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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