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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  8,490 ratings  ·  893 reviews
Over 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. They developed different suites of flora & fauna. When Columbus came to the Americas, he ended that separation. Driven by the goal of establishing trade with China, he accidentally set off an ecological convulsion as European vessels carried thousands of species to new environs.

The Columbian Exch
Hardcover, 557 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by Alfred A. Knopf (NY) (first published 2011)
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Jason Koivu
1493 is all over the place...and that's a good thing.

Charles C. Mann's follow up to his spectacular 1491 look at the pre-Columbian Americas is quite an admirable undertaking. Here he looks at the consequences of Columbus's voyages to the Americas. For better and/or for worse they had far reaching affects, especially biologically. Mann's premise seems to state that Columbus was not a morally good man, but he should be celebrated as bringing about the world's biological homogenization. Though thi
Mal Warwick
Chances are, you’re aware that the potato originated in Peru and smallpox in Africa, and that both species crossed the Atlantic shortly after Columbus. You probably know, too, that the potato later became a staple in many European countries and that smallpox decimated the native population of the Americas. However, what you may not know is how profound was the impact on the course of history of the exchange of animals, plants, minerals, and microorganisms from the Old World to and from the New.

Tom Lichtenberg
Human history no longer belongs to the twin poles of Eurocentricism, which either praise or damn European superiority or dominance, respectively. One consequence of recent globalization and multiculturalism is a redress of the balance of the human story, one which assigns both place and respect (and appropriate blame) to all of the civilizations of size in this world. It reminds us that not only Europeans engaged in the African slave trade, that not only Europeans conquered and settled and trade ...more
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created explores what happened when the New World and Old World came into contact from an ecological, biological, and economic perspective. The result is history not as made by kings and queens and generals, but by the potato, tobacco, the spice trade, and infectious disease. Take this, for instance: West Africans have an inherited immunity to malaria, the disease that beset early colonists and their indentured servants and then the native people of the Am ...more
Jan 18, 2014 Richard rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Richard by: Jon Abendschein
Shelves: history, nonfiction
How do you feel about history books that subvert your prior beliefs? Because there are a few very good ones out there. 1493, by Charles Mann, is one of them. His earlier best-selling 1491 probably is as well, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet.

Briefly, 1493 examines how the world changed due to, and very soon after, the initial contact between the Americas and the rest of the world in 1492. The term “Columbian Exchange” reminds us that the change was bidirectional. We are all familiar w
Remember Fourth Grade? Sister Mary Anne taught us to singsong "Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred and ninety two." Then we skipped to Jamestown in 1607. Did you ever get the feeling that we had missed a lot of something somewhere? Well, boys and girls, we surely did! Charles C. Mann has given us a marvelous account of the events that occurred that directly relate to what he calls the Columbian exchange. Now most of us have a vague idea that the invasive European powers brought so ...more
Ana Mardoll
1493 / 978-0307265722

I really enjoyed Charles Mann's 1491, but after struggling to get through 1493, I'm afraid to re-read the first and find that my opinion may now be reversed.

1491 was for me a wonderfully compiled and comprehensive look at the Americas before Columbus arrived and everything was inexorably changed. I appreciated the information presented in the book, as well as the manner in which it was presented -- I was strongly affected by Mann's tone with that volume and how he seemed to
Aug 07, 2011 Susan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History buffs
Absolutely fascinating. Worms and parasites, slaves and masters, greed and commerce, tobacco and guano – all have radically shaped today's world, and continue to do so. The Columbian Exchange united, both for better and for worse, this earth in ways that Columbus could never have dreamed.

The author's writing is well organized, researched, illustrated, and annotated. Given that, it still could have been boring but it wasn't. Charles Mann kept me entertained and interested through every word, rema
Chungsoo Lee
The subtitle is noteworthy: "Uncovering the New World Columbus Created," not "Discovered." In arriving at the New World, Charles C. Mann proposes, Columbus created a new world of globalization and modernization. The author carries the readers through a breathtaking geological scope and time span stretching from Spain, England, Americans (north and south), Africa, China, and Philippines and from the 15th through 21st centuries in a truly global and cosmic scale, providing an account of trade, dis ...more
This fascinating, authoritative book describes the "Columbian Exchange" after Columbus' "discovery" of the Americas. The book describes the exchange of people, products, plants, animals, and micro-organisms between the Americas and the rest of the world. Much of the book discusses the growth and trade of tobacco, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, silver, sugar, slaves, mosquitoes, smallpox, guano and rubber. Charles Mann emphasizes the unintended consequences of this trade.

The book is peppered with int
Dec 03, 2012 Alex rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Maybe not quite as good as 1491? But probably just because I was more interested in the subject matter there. Once again, Mann has written a kickass book. I really dig this guy.
Jul 05, 2011 Andres rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: arcs
In 1491 Mann explored the newest findings about what the Americas were actually like before the "Old World" set foot on it (as opposed to the dated perceptions that we can't seem to easily shake loose). Now Mann explores how the world reacted, and was affected, by this meeting.

I can't even begin to summarize what information is covered here, but here is a list of things that are discussed: potatoes, tomatoes, tobacco, sugar, rubber, gum, rum, Madeira, mosquitoes, malaria, yellow fever, smallpox,
Gary Brecht
Like his previous work, 1491, the author uses Christopher Columbus’s European discovery of the New World as a pivotal point in history; in this case, what changes occurred to our world in the wake of this momentous discovery? The task of deciding which threads of history are worth writing about is no less daunting than the act of retracing each significant event that will elucidate and enhance his story. By organizing his history into four main categories Mann is able to get a hold of this unwie ...more
Most elementary school children today are taught the basic gist of what is now known as the 'Columbian exchange' - the exchange of goods, people, and trading routes between Europe, Africa, and the American colonies of the New World. Most often, this is depicted as a neat triangle, and only one good being sent across the trading route.

Apart from being a simplification, this vastly understates the importance of this grand exchange. We can say, without any fear of exaggeration, that the course of w
Well written and mind expanding tour of the economic and ecological changes that were set in motion in the centuries after Columbus' landing in the New World. The interconnectedness of the world is elucidated in Mann's dizzying excursions to the European colonies in the Americas and Caribbean, Africa, and China.

The roots of globalization are to be found in the so-called "Columbian Exchange", the transfer of peoples, plants, domesticated animals, agricultural practices, and diseases between cont
Michael Alexander
I'm sure this is less than a perfect picture of all the nuanced history involved -- it wouldn't be pop history if it weren't. But in that Jared Diamond kind of mold, this is quite a book.

The argument runs: Columbus may not have had any idea what he was doing, but he's still the genesis of an entirely changed world -- a world connected all the way round, economically and (and here's the kicker) therefore biologically. You make a world market, you remake Pangaea, extremely messily.

Each chapter ju
Becky Gamble
So, so glad I was able to get my hands on this during the summer. I read the predecessor, 1491, because Mann came to Wilmington as the Honors Spring Speaker. This book seemed less dry than 1491 but also less mind blowing. Perhaps this was a result of hearing Mann's speech in which he mostly talked about 1493. Perhaps this was a result of taking AP Euro in high school. I knew a lot of what the book talked about based on Mann's speech, though the details he had not included were still interesting. ...more
Nothing Stands Alone
In Fleshed Out Tweets, Thoughtful- Items I'd Like you to Read on September 26, 2011 at 10:48 am
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Anyone who has ever received one of my tweets or is in my FB circle this week is aware that I am obsessing about “1493“ by Charles Mann.

His prior book, that I read, “1491“ describes the Western Hemisphere just prior to interaction with Europeans. The gist of 1491 is that European technology and numbers were insufficient to conque
Alan Kaplan
Excellent book by the author of 1491. Everything in the world changed with Columbus's discovery of the America's. Globalization did not begin today or in the last 100 years. Globalization began immediately when Columbus stepped food on Hispaniola. The Americas were filled with cultures and innumerable people. Globalization led to the import of measles, small pox, and ever malaria. Defenseless natives fell quickly to these invisible invaders.
Potatoes, native to the Americas, were exported all ove
This is a rambling, fascinating analysis of the origins of globalization and what Mann calls the "homogenocene," the homogenization of ecologies around the world since Columbus "discovered" the New World, and malaria was exchanged for potatoes, to oversimplify just a tad. Mann offers a balanced account of the benefit of this globalization that has been going on for centuries, and which if we have ever eaten tomatoes or corn, for example, we have benefited from. But he's far from blind to its oft ...more
Loved this book! For every sentence I read in it, author Charles C. Mann read hundreds, and he has the bibliography to prove it.

I loved it for two reasons: I love the sweeping overview of human *everything* that Mann provides: foods, migration, slavery, the global trade that preceded--in fact, led to--Columbus's discovery of the New World. And I loved it because it told me so much I didn't know: how the discovery of the potato, in the New World, saved the population of Europe from, if not exactl
I thoroughly enjoyed Mann's other book on this general topic, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, so I was quite keen to read this one. 1491 charted the history of America before Columbus' arrival and the dramatic changes that occured as a result. 1493 is in effect an expansion on a theory expounded in 1491, what is known as the Columbian Exchange. Whilst 1491 dwelt almost solely on the impact of Columbus' discovery of the America on the original inhabitants, 1493takes a globa ...more
Donna Jo Atwood
The older I get the more I understand the inter-connectedness of history. Mann, using a huge variety of sources, pulls together the way Columbus's "discovery" of the New World set in motion the way our world is connected today, from ecology, through food (can you say pizza?), slavery, and disease, to economics and political processes.

I really liked this book, especially since it didn't just focus on the Europe to South America angle, but brought in the thriving trade with China. Mann admits that
This is a good, thick book that will take a while to read. Every once in a while, you will probably want to do what I did and put it down and think about what you've just read and perhaps do some fact checking. I was particularly interested because Mann talks quite a bit about the importance of Fujian province in China and the incredible trade that sprung up there. He uses Fuzhou and neighboring ports to illustrate the first global trade cities - by 1340, Zaytun in Fujian province had seven mosq ...more
Erik Graff
Oct 09, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Tom Miley
Shelves: history
This book is only in part a continuation of 1491's description of the Americas before Columbus. Spanning the period from then to the present, it is in part a history of biological exchange, in part a history of trade and, in repeated excurses, in part a history of the globalization of slavery. As regards the latter, most notable is how Mann makes slaves, particularly black slaves, the agents of their own--and the Americas'--history.
A brilliant synthesis of history on the Colombian exchange. I'm always embarrassed when I discover great gaps in my knowledge like: how did I not know why the US wanted the Philippines?

Library copy.
Un scientifique n est pas forcément un historien, un voyageur n est pas forcément un écrivain et une bonne idée ne fait pas forcément un bon livre. Voulant relire l histoire du monde après le formidable impact de l échange colombien, Charles Mann analyse plusieurs exemples de cet impact en Amériques mais aussi en Chiné, aux Philippines ou en Irlande. Bourré d inexactitudes en particulier sur l Amérique latine, cédant au politiquement correct le plus déplacé, plein de préjugés anti catholiques ou ...more
Rick Presley
I was deeply and thoroughly impressed with Mann's monumental tome. It was every bit, if not more, sweeping in its treatment of the New World as his previous book 1491 documenting what we know about pre-Columbian America. Coupled with Ian Morris's book on "Why the West Rules - For Now" this promotes a far more egalitarian look at history, offsetting much of the Euro-centric conventional wisdom that passes for history in today’s schools. I may not agree tha ...more
This is a BIG book, and I love big books. By 'big' I mean it takes one subject and then examines it from myriad historical and cultural viewpoints. Author Mann's topic is the Columbian Exchange (hence the title 1493). In his own words (p. 365): First, he "looked at the Atlantic (Chapters 2 and 3), where the most important effects were caused by microscopic imports to the Americas (initially the diseases that depopulated Indian societies, then malaria and yellow fever, which encouraged plantation ...more
Loved It!! Best history book I ever read! Why don't they teach this stuff in school? I knew by the second chapter, that I would reread this one, and soon! Loaded with ecological/geographical effects on human populations and the subsequent consequences to social structure and land use/abuse. It moves fast, is written with humor and wit. I can't wait to reread it. This time with my pencil handy.

My favorite sentences:
-So many bands of donkeys rampaged through grain fields, reported a historian wh
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Charles C. Mann is a correspondent for Science and The Atlantic Monthly, and has cowritten four previous books including Noah’s Choice: The Future of Endangered Species and The Second Creation . A three-time National Magazine Award finalist, he has won awards from the American Bar Association, the Margaret Sanger Foundation, the American Institute of Physics, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, ...more
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1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491 Ancient Americans: Rewriting the History of the New World Noah's Choice: The Future of Endangered Species The Aspirin Wars: Money, Medicine & 100 Years of Rampant Competition

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