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Born to Die: Disease and New World Conquest, 1492 1650

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  24 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
The biological mingling of the previously separated Old and New Worlds began with the first voyage of Columbus. The exchange was a mixed blessing: It led to the disappearance of entire peoples in the Americas, but it also resulted in the rapid expansion and consequent economic and military hegemony of Europeans. Amerindians had never before experienced the deadly Eurasian ...more
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Published October 26th 2004 by Cambridge University Press (first published February 13th 1998)
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Karen
Oct 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comps
A good followup to Alfred Crosby's foundational text The Columbian Exchange which reports on research updates to his original arguments on disease, and also incorporates information and critiques McNeil's Plagues and People. Cook uses this book to ultimately dispel any lingering questions as to whether more Indians were killed by the cruelty of the Spaniards (Black Legend) or through disease (spoiler alert: the Spanish weren't nice, but their atrocities can't compare to the ravages of Influenza, ...more
Dan
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
A lot of recent disease history books are focused on the discourse of disease, rather than on the diseases themselves. This is not one of those books. Cook doesn't spend a minute on discourse; he's fully invested in describing the disease experience in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries.

Personally, I prefer this sort of study. Cook's objective was basically to elaborate on the disease theory for the depopulation of the "New World" after the encounter. The biology suggests that we would have seen
...more
Marsha
Aug 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent analogy of disease in the New World, but a more balanced view regarding violence, negotiation, and trading pathways is needed. Note that the author did research only in libraries in the United States, and did not examine primary sources in Peru.
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