Weekend Reading: 1491

Charles Mann’s 1491 really deserves the full treatment from our blogfollower with So Much To Read, since it’s a serious book and worth a proper long review.  But we got there first, even though it’s been sitting on our shelf for six and a half years.  (We had actually started it five years ago, but life events got in the way)  The book is about the state of things in the Western Hemisphere up to the time the marauding, foul-smelling Spaniards arrived.  Mann crams in tons of information, much of it laying waste to today’s prevailing and sentimental view of indigenous persons having dainty if not invisible carbon footprints.  Black hearted reader that we are, we took particular pleasure in the intergenerational dustup between archaeologistas Anna Roosevelt and Betty Meggers over the importance of slashing and burning in Amazonia.  We know we’ve said it before, but there are no more vicious fights than academic clashes.  Except, of course, religious wars.

On to 1493.

-Nemo Wolfe

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Published in: on April 30, 2012 at 11:01 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It’s already on our shelf having been read first by Mrs. 99. I don’t think Mr. Berry would have approved of our 1491 inhabitants approach to land management.

  2. Setting fires in a circle around the game you’re hunting to drive them into a convenient killing zone? What’s not to like?

  3. I just realized that I referred to Mr. Berry in the past tense. Tell him I’m sorry when you see him next. I did give him the opportunity to quote Mark Twain though.

  4. This looks like a great book and I’ll add it to my list. But what is most comforting about your entry is that you note it sat on your shelf for 6.5 years. Books like that haunt me. For instance, I cannot go into my library without the Power Broker glaring at me like a puppy in a cage at the Humane Society.


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