BEFORE COLUMBUS by Charles C. Mann


The Americas of 1491
Age Range: 10 & up
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Mann adapts his acclaimed portrait of the Americas before European conquest and settlement into an engrossing, highly readable account for young people. The title-subtitle combination is somewhat misleading, as this sweeping chronicle of the Americas covers thousands of years before Columbus and a couple hundred years after. Presenting fascinating discoveries and hypotheses of anthropologists, archaeologists, geologists and historians, the author effectively supports his thesis that “Native Americans created societies that were older, bigger, and more highly developed than we used to think.” He shows that catastrophic epidemics were most responsible for enabling small parties of European conquerors and colonists to overwhelm much larger Indian societies and demonstrates how Native Americans employed sophisticated agricultural methods that transformed ecosystems and shaped landscapes that Europeans assumed were “wilderness.” Attractively designed, the book is abundantly illustrated throughout with maps, photographs and reproductions of art works. Especially appealing is how the author shows young readers that history is not static, but dynamic, organic and ever-changing. (introduction, glossary, further reading, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4169-4900-8
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2009


Children1493 FOR YOUNG PEOPLE by Charles C. Mann
by Charles C. Mann