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1491: new revelations of the Americas before Columbus

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A groundbreaking study that radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans in 1492. Traditionally, Americans learned in school that the ancestors of the people who inhabited the Western Hemisphere at the time of Columbus's landing had crossed the Bering Strait twelve thousand years ago; existed mainly in small, nomadic bands; and lived so lightly on the land that the Americas was, for all practical purposes, still a vast wilderness. But as Charles C. Mann now makes clear, archaeologists and anthropologists have spent the last thirty years proving these and many other long-held assumptions wrong. In a book that startles and persuades, Mann reveals how a new generation of researchers equipped with novel scientific techniques came to previously unheard-of conclusions. Among them: * In 1491 there were probably more people living in the Americas than in Europe. * Certain cities-such as Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital-were far greater in population than any contemporary European city. Furthermore, Tenochtitlán, unlike any capital in Europe at that time, had running water, beautiful botanical gardens, and immaculately clean streets. * The earliest cities in the Western Hemisphere were thriving before the Egyptians built the great pyramids. * Pre-Columbian Indians in Mexico developed corn by a breeding process so sophisticated that the journal Science recently described it as "man's first, and perhaps the greatest, feat of genetic engineering." * Amazonian Indians learned how to farm the rain forest without destroying it-a process scientists are studying today in the hope of regaining this lost knowledge. * Native Americans transformed their land so completely that Europeans arrived in a hemisphere already massively "landscaped" by human beings. Mann sheds clarifying light on the methods used to arrive at these new visions of the pre-Columbian Americas and how they have affected our understanding of our history and our thinking about the environment. His book is an exciting and learned account of scientific inquiry and revelation.
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Grouping Information

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Grouping Title 1491 new revelations of the americas before columbus
Grouping Author mann charles c
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2018-11-20 23:13:15PM
Last Indexed 2018-11-20 23:48:56PM

Solr Details

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In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492.

Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that it has been called man's first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. Challenging and surprising, this a transformative new look at a rich and fascinating world we only thought we knew.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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primary_isbn 9781400032051
publishDate 2005, 2006, 2016
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subject_facet America -- Antiquities, Indians -- Antiquities, Indians -- History, Indians -- Origin
title_display 1491 : new revelations of the Americas before Columbus
title_full 1491 : new revelations of the Americas before Columbus / Charles C. Mann, 1491 New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
title_short 1491 :
title_sub new revelations of the Americas before Columbus
topic_facet Antiquities, History, Indians, Nature, Nonfiction, Origin