Book Recommendation: 1491, Charles C. Mann, Part 2

A part of the Amazon rainforest; possibly a man-made environment.
A part of the Amazon rainforest; possibly a man-made environment.

Hello everyone! Today’s post will be the second part of the earlier recommendation for 1491, by Charles C. Mann. Having now finished the book, I can state with certainty that it is very enjoyable; not only does it cover aspects of history which do not often get their due share of attention, but many of the theories it discusses are eye-opening in their nature and scope. The second half of the book deals primarily with the impact Native American societies had on the continents which they inhabited, and devotes a good deal of its energy to debunking the idea that they were living in an eternal state, in tune with nature and exercising as little of an effect as possible on their environment. Instead, Mann states (through the army of anthropologists, historians, archeologists, biologists, and others who he has interviewed for this book) that societies from the Amazon to New Hampshire had spent millennia perfecting the environment in which they lived; what the early European visitors to the continents believed was untouched nature was more of a “vast garden”, in the words of Mann, meticulously sculpted over the centuries. These theories form a wonderful tapestry which ties together the secondĀ  half of Mann’s work.

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