Nadananda asked:

Such an informative read and so fully fills in the gaps in our education giving a much clearer understanding of our repeating yet progressing history. I know it is a dedicated read but so rich and inspiring. Wishing some others in this group will read and comment on this and its sequel 1493. An awsome accomplishment of Charles Mann. Anyone out there read this?

Mary Amazing read. A long hard read for me but incredible.
Fred Kennedy Reading 1491 as a Men's Book Club selection. Sluggish reading for me with lots of details and information about the natives of North and South America prior to Columbus. Not my cup of tea but it does give one a new perspective on the feats of the early "Indians".
Chris I just finished this book. He gets into the figurative weeds but I like that. Part of the book that I found most fascinating were his discussion of how plant cultivation may have occurred in the Amazon, discussion of the group of cultivated plants that were dropped when Indians switched to maize/beans/squash cultivation, the idea that the existing peoples perhaps had few domesticated animals for food but they did "manage" the land to increase yields of bison and other food animals and the political order of the Inka.
Pam I just finished it. It was a Multnomah County Library book club pick this month. I never would have picked it up otherwise, but found it fascinating.
Karen! Both are really good reads for the reasons you describe. 1491 delves into China while 1493 does much more work with conquistadors and the results of colonial pursuits in Middle and South America. Very interesting read, especially since I was en route to Peru when I read it! I learned a great deal about South American indigenous people that I had only heard about in passing before. Great read!
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