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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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  • 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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  • 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 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 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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  • Posted May 24, 2012

    A Good Book

    If you like real history, this book is an excellent choice. While it drags a bit in places, the details add to the value of the book. I found it a real eye-opener about the life of Native Americans before the Europeans arrived. The little anecdotes (historically accurate) added much to the knowledge gained. For example, in the 1300's many Europeans had NEVER had a bath! The Indians could smell them before they saw them! Lots of other good stuff here. Again, it does drag along in places but overall, a great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Good writing but very sad

    "1491" was the story we all know about, but much, much more.
    What the Christian white man has done in the search for "Gold, Glory & God" was so ruinous & cruel it is very depressing. Just a few men brought on the ruin of the Native American, & then complete destruction of an entire culture by the rest of the emmigrants. It makes me ashamed.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    New point of view for me

    A quite readable high-level account of pre-Columbian civilizations of the western hemisphere from the point of view of the peoples whom the European explorers encountered. Mann busts several myths promulgated by the Eurocentric and the politically correct, raising interesting questions and offering feasible theories. This book replaces caricature with believable people. Great read. Looking forward to 1493 next.

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    Excellent

    Very provocative premise and definitely nothing like what I was taught in schools growing up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2010

    A Good Beginning

    Touches on enough loose ends in popular belief to stimulate further research. A great and yet easy read, it happily blows away revisionist politically correct nonsense about our 'noble savage' ancestors here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2008

    Very Interesting!

    This book was full of information and makes you think about the way we view history in general. I also agree with some of the other reviewers on the animosity over 'Indians.' Having a relative from Peru, she preferred to be called an 'Indian.' Then again, this is the opinion of someone who spells flea, 'flees'

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2005

    NEW REVELATIONS

    Excellent read, and thought provoking. Maybe . . . maybe not! I am also reading another series, this one about Vikings in the Americas before 1491, it is also thought provoking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2005

    etherial reading

    This book is a stunning and wonderfully researched book of the native Americas before the arrival of Columbus! I can hardly wait to turn the next page!

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