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1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

21 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

eye opening

I felt motivated to write this review after seeing some of the other reviewers comment on very odd things. This book was eye opening for me. I couldn't put it down--which says something. And it changed the way I think about the history of the Americas and the world. ...
I felt motivated to write this review after seeing some of the other reviewers comment on very odd things. This book was eye opening for me. I couldn't put it down--which says something. And it changed the way I think about the history of the Americas and the world. Regarding the person who claims that Mann criticizes environmentalists--nothing could be further from the truth. I am an ardent conservationist and am quoting Mann in my master's thesis. He discusses some very central controversies in conservation. For the person who was so outraged by the idea that some native peoples prefer to be called Indians--actually some do. And this may be more relevant in Spanish. While indio is an insult in some countries, there are native people in Colombia who refer to themselves as indios. I wasn't sure where the rage was coming from, but Mann was not incorrect. In addition, I would have to go back to the book, but I didn't interpret his portrayal of Holmberg as insulting. I thought that Mann actually spoke quite highly of him. There is much to like in this book, and maybe the fact that it can stir up so much controversy is part of that.

posted by Anonymous on September 23, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

Footnotes are not displayed in text - huge problem for critical reader

I found this book to be a very interesting read - particularly from the perspective of a biologist and professional conservationist. However one thing about the Nook e-version totally ticked me off. The notes, very important references to sources for some pretty contr...
I found this book to be a very interesting read - particularly from the perspective of a biologist and professional conservationist. However one thing about the Nook e-version totally ticked me off. The notes, very important references to sources for some pretty controversial material, were NOT displayed in the text. That made it impossible to read, and as you go along, consider validity of the author's positions relative to the sources he felt supported them. There were references to some interesting Appendices made in the text, and there were asterisks linked to brief explanations included at the end of each chapter, but none of the text included reference notes. They were there, following page 410, seventy-eight pages of them, and you could link from them to the text page they were associated with, but not the line or statement there. Regardless, once at the end, to go back and try to integrate references into your thinking just doesn't work. If I were the author I'd be furious. As it is I just feel ripped off. B&A must do better than this!

posted by StreamFollower on October 30, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2007

    eye opening

    I felt motivated to write this review after seeing some of the other reviewers comment on very odd things. This book was eye opening for me. I couldn't put it down--which says something. And it changed the way I think about the history of the Americas and the world. Regarding the person who claims that Mann criticizes environmentalists--nothing could be further from the truth. I am an ardent conservationist and am quoting Mann in my master's thesis. He discusses some very central controversies in conservation. For the person who was so outraged by the idea that some native peoples prefer to be called Indians--actually some do. And this may be more relevant in Spanish. While indio is an insult in some countries, there are native people in Colombia who refer to themselves as indios. I wasn't sure where the rage was coming from, but Mann was not incorrect. In addition, I would have to go back to the book, but I didn't interpret his portrayal of Holmberg as insulting. I thought that Mann actually spoke quite highly of him. There is much to like in this book, and maybe the fact that it can stir up so much controversy is part of that.

    21 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 30, 2011

    Footnotes are not displayed in text - huge problem for critical reader

    I found this book to be a very interesting read - particularly from the perspective of a biologist and professional conservationist. However one thing about the Nook e-version totally ticked me off. The notes, very important references to sources for some pretty controversial material, were NOT displayed in the text. That made it impossible to read, and as you go along, consider validity of the author's positions relative to the sources he felt supported them. There were references to some interesting Appendices made in the text, and there were asterisks linked to brief explanations included at the end of each chapter, but none of the text included reference notes. They were there, following page 410, seventy-eight pages of them, and you could link from them to the text page they were associated with, but not the line or statement there. Regardless, once at the end, to go back and try to integrate references into your thinking just doesn't work. If I were the author I'd be furious. As it is I just feel ripped off. B&A must do better than this!

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2008

    Still Reading ...

    Wonderfully explained and organized. The wealth of data is amazing and the unbiasedness is welcomed.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2007

    WOW

    One would think that reading about so many stats would just put one to sleep, BUT it did just the opposite for me. To understand the advanced societies in the Americas for so many centuries before the arrival of European virus just boggled my mind. If you have any interest in our past this is a must read. Until this book my perspective of pre-Columbus America was the European version.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2007

    crashingly disappointing

    I had high hopes for Mann's interpretation especially reading this after Philbrick's Mayflower. With the exception of Part One, 90% of the book relates to South and Central America, and it almost reads as a topographical history or South America. I was 'expecting' more insight into Columbus and the North American tribes and their history, but I think people are getting caught up in the story. I found myself skipping chapters something I never do (well, there was a chapter on tortilla making).

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2006

    Food for thought...

    I have always thought the traditional history taught in schools is incorrect and lacking. But I don't think this book provides all the answers. I think Mann assumes quite a bit in some of his arguements and makes some claims that seem to be a stretch at best. But this is a good book and I think anyone interested in history should read it, just keep an open mind on some of the claims. Just because it is in a book does not make it true.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A dense, interesting, history-packed book with a refreshing view of the Americas before Columbus.

    This was an interesting book, full of information I had never seen or heard before. The author writes very clearly and is easy to understand. Occasionally, the sections were so dense with information that I became a little lost and confused--I found it hard to keep up with all the Indian names--but other than that I enjoyed it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2005

    Mann's Mistake

    Allan Holmberg - to whom Charles Mann attributes 'Holmberg's Mistake' - never argued anything to the effect of what Mann claims in his work on Bolivia. His dissertation at Yale, published as 'Nomads of the Long Bow' by the Smithsonian, was on the effects of hunger on forest dwellers who lived in fragmented groups due to historical contingencies. That Charles Mann elected to name a chapter of his book, 1491, ¿Holmberg¿s Mistake¿ shows nothing but that Mann never read the book. Holmberg, to the extent that his work addresses historical or archaeological questions at all, argues quite transparently that the Siriono were an ¿anomaly¿ and likely a ¿remnant of an ancient population that was exterminated, absorbed, or engulfed by more civilized invaders.¿ The mistake here is all Mann¿s. I would not argue that Mann's overall argument is incorrect but it is odd that he attempts to destroy the reputation of someone who never held the ideas attributed to him. Mann's representation approaches the unethical.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    The paperback is $9.99 at Costco

    The paperback is $9.99 at Costco

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2006

    Half this book is just dandy!

    The rest, sadly, seems to be overly-PC journalistic obiter dicta one wonders if this chap was being paid by the word. Still, the current -- well, I suppose, science, if one can really call cultural anthropology any such thing -- is nicely summarized and the changes from the stuff that was 'official' and which has been suspect since the days of Franz Boas, is shown to be even more uncertain at best. The book drives yet another nail in the Smithsonian's ethnological coffin -- a good thing. A fascinating read, in any case.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2012

    I am fortunate enough to have a first edition of this book. Whi

    I am fortunate enough to have a first edition of this book. While I don't agree with everything that he wrote, the man made me THINK.

    The history itself is interesting and presented well. The most valuable service that this book does, though, is to clearly point out that more than a few generally accepted "facts" are really theories.

    BTW, "1493" is a good read, too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2011

    Interesting and thought provoking

    Great read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent Synthesis

    The author does an excellent job of bringing together various histories of the Americas to show that the "New World" simply was not what we have traditionally been taught.<BR/>I would like to see him or someone else now do a similarly heavily-mass-marketed work on the growing body of archaeological, historical and epigraphical evidence which suggests that the Americas were, in fact, explored by Europeans and others long before Columbus.<BR/>Unfortuntely, heretofore this subject has been deemed by mainstream academia to be the realm of quackery. This is a tragedy and is based more on mainstream academia's instinct of self-preservation than any search for the truth.<BR/>In any event, perhaps 1491 will one day be seen as an opening salvo in the effort to bring such questions to the forefront of scholarship. After all, it is not just that, as Mann points out, Native Americans's societies were far more complex and larger than traditionally thought, they were also very likely far more akin to what we would today call "multicultural", as well.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2008

    Superbly written

    Who were the first people on North and South America and how did they arrive here? A subject some don't care about but for us who do, its truly a mystery. The author chose a subject knowing how many would disagree with him but he came through with material to back his ideas up. Its interesting in that we can use this to save ourselves from destruction since so many before us did the same things were doing and didn't learn. To save our planet from our own wrath and be the ones who can at least say we learned from the past. What civilization will come next if we don't learn now? This is what our children have to look forward to.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2007

    I feel fortunate about the information Mann put toghether in this book

    I'm impressed with the information in this book. I feel very fortunate Charles C. Mann put toghether this information. There's one thing I strongly disagree with Mann on this book-his claim that some Natives prefer to be called Indian instead of 'Native Americans' is at most a 'stupidaggine' 'absurdity' as the that name was concocted by ignorance! The very ignorance of Christoforo Colombo or 'Cristobal Colon' who thought he had landed in India. Why do we continue to perpetuate ignorance is unknown to me. Unless, of course, immigrants from other lands now want to claim the title for themselves! I'm sure it wouldn't matter now, they took everything else already from Native Peoples... I was amazed when I watched an interview with Dick Wolf by Tavis Smiley show, on PBS, He claims the Smithsonian as a source for Political correctness and the term Indian for 'Native American'. He surely jumped quicker than flees onto the back side of a quaking duck with American Indian. That name was concocted by ignorance, the very ignorance of Christoforo Colombo or 'Cristobal Colon' who thought he had landed in India. The fact that some Native American tribes 'which does NOT mean tribes in the US/Canada-but the Americas' call themselves American Indian, is part of the same filth Ale¿ Hrdlièka and the Smithsonian spoused and actively carried out in hopes to keep out the great nations that existed and that had created a much more advanced systems, cities, than in Europe and other places by the 14 century! In fact, they were so advanced in mathematics, for example, the first culture to use zero where the Native Americans, in the South of Mexico, Guatemala, throughout Central America and South America! I¿m sure he will claim Native American for him now! The Americas, or the land of the early light, as Native Americans called these lands, was the last to be discovered and we have just started to learn about the GRAND cultures that existed here, before the Spaniars ravaged the land and its people in 1492. And then, almost 2 centuries later, came the Britons 'pilgrims' who did more damaged to Native Peoples in less than 100 years, than the Spaniards did in over 400 years. The Spaniards intermerried with the Natives, the Britons killed most of them, or uprooted them from their land to inhospitable lands, far away from their homes.

    1 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2013

    Thought provoking view of pre-columbian history of the Americas; worth reading

    -

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2013

    The book 1491 by Charles C. Mann provides a wonderful and inter


    The book 1491 by Charles C. Mann provides a wonderful and interesting look into the Americas

    before Columbus. In the book, Charles Mann answers long asked questions about ancient America, from the first Thanksgiving to the time when the first Americans crossed over from Asia on the Bering Strait. (This theory is also a hot subject for debate in this book.) Overall I immensely enjoyed this book as it provided me with answers to questions I have been asking myself for several years. Such as whether ancient Americans really were here before the Asians crossed the Bering Strait. I would recommend this book for people who have a yearning for history and enjoy ancient cultures.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2013

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    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2013

    This is a must read for anyone who wants to have a glimpse into

    This is a must read for anyone who wants to have a glimpse into life before Europeans. It is a shame what has been lost. This book dragged a bit in the middle but overall was an excellent source of information.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    it was a good read

    it was a good read

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