1491 New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus) [Pdf/E–pub] ´ Charles C. Mann
Charles C. Mann
Free read ß E-book, or Kindle E-pub ò Charles C. MannK That said there were numerous peccadillosMann starts with the basic assertion that the West s primary mistake in our conception of American Indians is that we have generally seen them as unchanging The Northmans Bride (Sons of the North features in a primeval wilderness This he argues is dehumanizing regardless of whether you prefer to prefix savage with noble because a people incapable of change seems incapable of will of thought of ingenuityHe attempts to dismantle this notion by presenting research supporting 3 broad ideas1 pre Columbian population estimates are now assumed to be much higher than previously thought ie between the time ofirst contact and the colony at Plymouth humanity in the Americans witnessed a massive die off2 humans
Were Present In North Americapresent in North America tens of thousand of years and the complexity of their societies were comparable with with Eurasian counterparts3 Indians could and did exert influence over the natural worldOn the whole I think Mann made convincing arguments or the broad stokes However there were a number of things that set me off most of them centering around my suspicion that Mann was trying harder to convince than reveal Maybe this stems The Northman's Bride from his journalistic rather than academic background but I constantlyelt cajoled when what *I Wanted To Feel Was *wanted to eel was courseFirst of all there was the general lack of methods Reconstructing history is a tricky business raught with error so when you re trying to communicate a challenging and controversial notion like the number of American Indians who died as a result of European diseases I think you need to go into excruciating detail about how population numbers are derived To his credit Mann touches on it but he treats the issue of error as a sort of Cherry Bomb footnote noting one scientist who thinks the degree of error makes the numbers meaningless Throughout the book Iound myself asking But how do we know that and was generally disappointed by the number and uality of the citations sources often include interviews personal communication and secondary sources that themselves lack citation To provide another example on p 234 he describes how Olmecs deformed the pliant skulls of their infants to make them look a certain way only to admit archaeologists only assume they did this based on their artwork No ellipsis can adeuately contain my stupefaction at the absurdity of that claim Have you seen Mesoamerican artwork Have you seen any human artwork prior to Enlightenment Europe Not exactly the height of realism Perusing his source it seems that the Leading the Way figurines looked deformed and intentional deformation was apparently documented elsewhere in Mesoamerica but the citation trail goes Spanish there so I m lost If there wereirst hand accounts of similar practices you need to describe them In the text Because shaping baby skulls is WEIRD by our standardsThere were other portions that just seemed irrational andor unscientific His attempt to euate human sacrifice among the Mexica aka Aztecs and 17th century executions in Britain was a bit ridiculous as ellow Goodreads user Stefan pointed out p 134 On p 172 he actually describes error ranges or carbon dating as typographical clutter muffled howl of rage On p 291 he writes Indians began systematically replanting large belts of woodland transforming them into orchards The Single Girl's Guide to Marrying a Man, His Kids, and His Ex-Wife: Becoming a Stepmother with Humor and Grace forruit and mast He cites Krummer an Atlantic Monthly article about chestnut restoration and himself neither of which mention Indian planting You get the pictureFinally I When Red Cried Wolf found his constant comparisons to Europe and the general sense of hand wringing and guilt a bit trying and that s comingrom a self avowed Western liberal hand wringer Two back to back uotes sum this up nicelyThe complexity of a society s technology has little to do with its level of social complexity something that we in our era of rapidly changing seemingly overwhelming technology have trouble grasping p 250But where Europe had the profoundly different civilizations of China and Islam to steal rom Mesoamerica was alone in the world p 251The sagacity of the ormer idea and the absurd implication that cultural and technological interchange in Eurasia was both one way and morally wrong perfectly describe 23 of the Ueda Mann Venn diagramBut like I said on the whole pretty good I The World in the Curl: An Unconventional History of Surfing found the penultimate bit about defining our relationship to nature and theinal section about the role American Indian concepts of Song of the Forest freedom and individuality may have influenced theounding of the United States super intriguing worth books of their own Maybe that s where he s going with 1493 Words prelapsarian adj before the Fall of Man Talkin Bilbical here p 14telluric adj terrestrial pertaining to soil p 80statrapies n in this context leaders or states that act primarily in response to larger political entities p 138fissiparous adj tending to all apart separate p 37. Led man’s irst A Constellation of Vital Phenomena 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 andascinating world we only thought we kne. The implications of this Let s say the sake of argument that *Some Disease Came To Melbourne *disease came to Melbourne I live city of about 5 million people and it wiped out 95% of everyone Obviously all of the normal things you might expect to be going on in a city would come to a screaming halt You would be unlikely to be able to catch a tram or instance or buy milk at the local supermarket if 19 in every 20 people suddenly stopped living And the people left would be without nearly everyone they have known and loved so not particularly happy if
you know what I mean But that would only be theknow what I mean But that would only be the of the problems Let s say none of the animals died in this catastrophe The estimate is that 62% of households in Melbourne have pets and there are 20 dogs per 100 people which would mean all of a sudden there would be 20 dogs or every Sextasy: Master the Timeless Techniques of Tantra, Tao, and the Kama Sutra to Take Lovemaking to New Heights five people If their owners are dead then presumably many of these dogs would be pretty hungry and some of them would be out and about lookingor Still Life with Chickens food probably in packs If you arrived a year or so after the catastrophe Melbourne would look like a prettyrightening place with lots of hungry and presumably angry dogs walking the streets You might wonder what the hell was the matter with these people that they had so many damn dogs and didn t even bother to look after themThis is effectively what is suggested to have happened with bison That is that the removal of humans Still Life with Chickens: Starting Over in a House by the Sea fromarm lands across the continent provided bison with an ideal situation to go through a population explosion And this then left the Europeans who arrived assuming the Indians spent all of their time hunting bison without ever seeming to diminish the population of them whereas the bison were actually just taking advantage of the Indian Paradox Bound farms that were now no longerarms due to the Indians having died off due to disease There is a bit of Bill Bryson s A Walk in the Woods where he talks of the extinction of various types of birds that had swarmed in such profusion when Europeans arrived that the Europeans basically went nuts killing and eating them This is presented as proof of European disregard or nature something that is self evidently true by the way But in this case the birds were also an oddity Because the Indian armers had died the corn harvests were left in the STFU, Parents: The Jaw-Dropping, Self-Indulgent, and Occasionally Rage-Inducing World of Parent Overshare fields the amount ofood available or these birds exploded and with that so too did their populations What Europeans witnessed and considered normal were in act a conseuence of removing humans Syncopated: An Anthology of Nonfiction Picto-Essays from what had been a human made landscape And once you do that other animals take the opportunity tolourish This book has shifted how I understand the pre European Americas if you are Are All Guys Assholes?: More Than 1,000 Guys in 10 Cities Reveal Why They're Not, Why They Sometimes Act Like They Are, and How Understanding Their ... Will Solve Your Guy Drama Once and For All from the Americas you should read this not only because it is aascinating read but also because it will serve as a useful reminder of a cultural heritage you still have responsibilities What a Lass Wants for Just as we Australians can never be reconciled with the land until we help to heal the wound we have made by our terrible and tragic history so too the Americas have a debt that needs to be repayed Very well written a good mixture ofactual evidence and narrative The main take home point here should be known to everyone especially Americans There is a reason why there was a period of 128 years between Colombus landing and a permanent European settlement in North America Namely there were millions of Native Americans there who thought Europeans were dirty amusing creatures who had interesting objects but were not it or being neighbors Attempted European settlers were continuously driven out When one tribe Mexican Hooker finally took pity on the English settlement of Plymouth it was only because a smallpox epidemic had killed vast numbers of the them off and they were concerned about being run over by their enemies who had not yet suffered thisate It is likely that were it not The League for the Suppression of Celery for the outbreaks of smallpox preceding many of theirst European scouts moving westward that America would have never been a country Oh yeah and concerning South America there is evidence that much possibly 70 80% of the orest is man made This is definitely a well researched eye opening book that will challenge the idea that Native Americans were a sparse people who had no effect on their environment and let things be on their own The only reason people think that most Native Americans were purely nomadic hunters was because the smallpox had killed off most of the urbanized settlements that reuired agriculture In brief I elt this was an adeuate often Suspicion at Seven: A Lois Meade Mystery fascinating summary of human habitation of the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans as understood by present day historians and scientists I was happy to see that Mann highlighted controversial areas without simply adopting one side of any given controversy and in general it seemed like a balanced well researched boo. E 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 cal. Myavorite recent history book Mann surveys the breadth and complexity of
"Indigenous Cultures In The Americas "cultures in the Americas the arrival of Columbus Some of this research was amiliar to me When I taught American history in the 2000s I would start with such snapshots of Cahokia the Olmecs the Serpent Mound the Maya the great trade networks that connected the continent But even that information was hard to ind Good luck inding even a mention of it in the school textbooks Despite having some knowledge I was blown away again by how populated and cultivated the American landscape was before the cataclysmic arrival of Europeans and their diseases This book blows up many stubborn out dated theories like the singular Bering land bridge migration the idea that the land was mostly empty when Europeans arrived and the Idea That Most Indigenous Peoples Were Simple that most indigenous peoples were simple gatherers It also gives us a good look at just how stubborn and resistant traditional Euro American scholarship has been to accepting any new information that didn t it established theories about the indigenous peoples None of this will comes as a surprise to indigenous readers themselves I m sure but or me it was a refreshing amazing read I knew nothing about the vast sophisticated terraforming societies of sub ian South America or the pre Incan empires or the way *that hunter gatherer people intentionally crafted the landscape to better serve their needs Mann gave me *hunter gatherer people intentionally crafted the landscape to better serve their needs Mann gave me tantalizing glimpse into a complex beautiful pre Columbian world This was like a coloring book of pre Pilgrim North America or me in that it illed in a lot of unanswered uestions and brilliantly illuminated some areas of my knowledge that were mere outlines It stays within the lines and makes my early attempts at coloring in the past look like spidery seizure induced scrawlingsBeing originally rom New England I m well You know in Gulp!: The Seven-Day Crash Course to Master Fear and Break Through Any Challenge fourteen hundred and ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue So 1491 was a particularly interesting yearor the inhabitants of the Americas This is a remarkably similar story to that told in Dark Emu It is almost as if everything I ve ever known about pre European settlement in Australia and the Americas has been well utter rubbish Which is than a little annoyingWhat is very interesting here is that we seem to have grossly under estimated both the population of the Americas prior to European arrival and also the extent of The Outlaw and the Upstart King farming includingarming in the basin a particularly interesting part of this book The author suggests that the local Indian populations in the effectively created the orest to meet human needs and that this was then able to support a much larger population than we would otherwise have estimated and one much advanced than we assume tooAll of this has conseuences and implications of course because we could and should learn a lot rom peoples who have Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War farmed the landor thousands of years before we arrived and who did so in ways that appear to have been much sustainable than anything we have achieved since This book covers ar too much in act so much so that after a while my head was almost spinning We travel across both continents Sometimes there is so much detail involving the pre European arrival political struggles and murders that it pays to remember that if the Indians had invaded the UK at around this same time they d have come just after the War of the Roses You know what I m saying is that Europe was in no position to criticise other countries and their monarchies Stories for a Kindred Heart: Over 100 Treasures to Touch Your Soul for their internecine murders and battles The thing that has shifted how I understand this history involves a kind of key provided by this book to understanding what happened Basically Europeans wereilthy since we lived with lots of animals and so we brought horrible horrible diseases to the Americas The local populations had no defence against such diseases and also had a remarkably narrow gene pool are pools narrow Maybe it was a shallow pool Either way it seems that up to 95% of the local populations were killed by diseases like small pox We can hardly imagine what that would mean The debate still rages about whether the Europeans intentionally spread these diseases although another book I have read on this said that James the First referred to small pox as a gift rom God so it wasn t as if we were particularly upset about the inferno that we allowed to sweep before us as we arrived in the New World What is clear is that not only did the population collapse entire civilisations were brought to their knees And as we arrived we often assumed that what we ound was what had been with us completely unaware we were witnessing societies suffering under dire stress The author makes it very clear that what we were seeing was a grossly distorted vision of what had previously existed I ve never ully understood. 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 1492Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school the pre Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather there wer.
Charles C. Mann