1493 by Charles Mann Book Review


1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created is a nonfiction book written by Charles C. Mann and published in 2011. The book covers the global effects of the Columbian Exchange, which began with Columbus’ first landing in the Americas and led to our current globalized world civilization.

The main theme of 1493 is connection. Mann attempts to show how the interweaving threads of global trade have shaped the world we live in today.

He looks at the Columbian Exchange, which was initially intended to establish a new trade route with China, but ended up having far-reaching consequences for the entire world.

Mann also examines the Pristine Wilderness myth, which suggests that the landscape of the Americas was largely untouched prior to the arrival of Europeans. He argues that native societies and civilizations had a large influence on the land, actively reshaping the environment to their needs.

The book has been praised for its thoughtful, learned approach and lively prose. It has been described as a monumental achievement, and readers have found it to be an engaging and informative read.

What I Liked

Ok – this book blew my mind. It’s unfortunate that there are so many events that we call “turning points” or “world changing” – because it undermines times when the world truly changed. Before 1492, there were truly two distinct “worlds” – the eastern and western hemisphere. But after Columbus, all of it changed. Thousands of species moved back and forth. Truly everything got turned upside down – animals, food, culture, disease, tools, worldviews, – truly everything.

The book is engaging, well-structured, and approachable but still rigorous.

What I Did Not Like

It’s long – but worth it. Otherwise, it’s an A++ non-fiction read.

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