Book Recommendation: 1491, Charles C. Mann, Part 1

1491

Hello everyone! Today’s post is on the book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, by Charles C. Mann. While I have not yet completed this book, I am currently enjoying it very much, and so thought that a post would be a good idea. As the title implies, the subject of this book is the civilizations of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. The book weaves a rich tapestry on this subject, drawing on the work of generations of historians, historical demographers, archeologists, sociologists, and others to bring to life civilizations which have since passed from the face of the Earth. In reading this book, a whole new historical world has opened for me. Previously, I was unaware of most aspects of the history of the Americas; one good example of an interesting historical fact contained in this book is that it is a strong possibility (though not certain) that the Inca developed a writing system in the form of long, knotted strings called khipu. The colours of the string, subsidiary strings which descended from the main knots, and the design and order of the knots were able to tell a story, an entirely unique writing system in the history of civilization. “Reading” the khipu depended on both sight and touch, making this also one of the only tactile writing methods in history. It is through glimpses such as this that Mann is able to evoke a feeling of nostalgia for a world which ceased to exist long ago; the loss of these civilizations and the majority of their records was truly a tragedy on a massive scale, and one which can never be undone.

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