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1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus CHARLES C. MANN

In this sweeping tome, Mann endeavors to dispel the myth that Native Americans were a people suspended in time before the arrival of European explorers. On the contrary, the rich and varied civilizations that arose throughout North, Middle, and South America millennia ago rivaled those found in Europe and Asia. Mann begins his extensively researched tale by recounting the initial contact between the original Americans and explorers from England and Spain. He describes the efforts of Native Americans to protect their way of life while negotiating with the interlopers, a strategy that was undercut by the ravages of smallpox and other introduced diseases. Mann also explores the question of Native American ancestry and growing doubts that the first Americans migrated to the new world strictly across the Bering Strait. Mann reveals the social and technical achievements of the people of Mesoamerica such as the Olmec and Zapotec, examples of which range from building pyramids to cultivating maize. He concludes that despite the information provided in many history texts, Native Americans maintained advanced societies long before they were discovered by Europeans. Knopf, 2005, 480 p., b&w photos and illus., hardcover, $30,00.
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Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Aug 20, 2005
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