Dan's Reviews > 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

1491 by Charles C. Mann
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's review
Sep 27, 12

Read in September, 2012

The main thesis of 1491 snaps into clarity near the middle/end of the book: that the Americas pre-Columbus were not nearly as 'pristine' as we would like to believe and that the native inhabitants had a far greater impact on the ecology than previously thought. Though Europe/Asia/Africa had the greater technology, what was going on the Americas was no less dramatic - just different.

Much like 'Guns, Germs, & Steel', this is an anthropological 'paradigm shift' but will possibly be more controversial since the evidence presented and intuitive thought process is less clear. Most notably controversial is the premise that the majority of the Amazon rain-forest has been much more influenced by human hands than would seem possible. Also, not much headway is made in determining who exactly the native Americans even are, however, the controversy surrounding this debate is thoroughly exposed and is a fascinating story in its own right.

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08/07/2012 page 58
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