1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

Charles C. Mann. Knopf, $30.50 (544p) ISBN 978-0-307-26572-2
Having resurrected the isolated splendors of the pre-Columbian Americas in his bestselling 1491, Mann explores the global convergences—and upheavals—inaugurated by their discovery in this fascinating survey of the "Homogenocene" era. Mann traces the subtle, epochal influences of the intercontinental "Columbian Exchange" of flora, fauna, commodities, and peoples, showing how European honeybees and earthworms remade New World landscapes; how New World corn, potatoes, and fertilizer ignited Eurasian population booms; how Old World diseases prompted an eruption of slavery in the Western Hemisphere (the influx of Africans, not Europeans, to the Americas, Mann notes, was the main demographic result of the Contact); how Latin American silver undermined China's Ming Dynasty; and how the decimation of Indian peoples changed the world's climate. The author interweaves research on everything from epidemiology to economics into a lucid historical panorama that's studded with entertaining studies of Chinese pirate fleets, courtly tobacco rituals, and the bloody feud between Jamestown colonists and the Indians who fed and fought them, to name a few. Brilliantly assembling colorful details into big-picture insights, Mann's fresh, challenge to Eurocentric histories puts interdependence at the origin of modernity. 35 illus.; 12 maps. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/04/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Show other formats
FORMATS
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X