Review of 1491 by Charles Mann

This is the first comprehensive look at the people of the pre-Columbian Americas. I found the style to be very accessible and entertaining, and the book full of new information for this reader. Mann’s work here is considered to be “revisionist” in that he challenges many of the orthodoxies of anthropology and history in regard to Indigenous people. As an outsider to these disciplines –he is a journalist– he is able to filter both the new findings and the old prejudices with a more objective eye than most inside observers.

Title: 1491
Author: Charles Mann,
ISBN:1400032059
Vintage

product

A book review of 1491

This is the first comprehensive look at the people of the pre-Columbian Americas. I found the style to be very accessible and entertaining, and the book full of new information for this reader. Mann’s work here is considered to be “revisionist” in that he challenges many of the orthodoxies of anthropology and history in regard to Indigenous people. As an outsider to these disciplines –he is a journalist– he is able to filter both the new findings and the old prejudices with a more objective eye than most inside observers.

Many of his assertions are startling, and draw on the very latest findings in archeology and dna research. He paints a picture of an early hemisphere teaming with cities and villages and civilizations that compete with the so-called “cradles of civilization” in their advancements and knowledge. He also draws horrifying conclusions about the rapidity with which old world diseases wiped out the indigenous populations.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in exploring American Indian people before contact with Europeans.

My rating: 4.0 stars
****