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Publisher's Summary

From the author of 1491 - the best-selling study of the pre-Columbian Americas - a deeply engaging new history that explores the most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs.
More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed totally different suites of plants and animals. Columbus’s voyages brought them back together - and marked the beginning of an extraordinary exchange of flora and fauna between Eurasia and the Americas. As Charles Mann shows, this global ecological tumult - the “Columbian Exchange” - underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest generation of research by scientists, Mann shows how the creation of this worldwide network of exchange fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Manila and Mexico City - where Asia, Europe, and the new frontier of the Americas dynamically interacted - the center of the world.
In 1493, Charles Mann gives us an eye-opening scientific interpretation of our past, unequaled in its authority and fascination.
©2011 Charles C. Mann (P)2011 Random House Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By avdefsa on 12-28-11

The top history book of the decade

Where does 1493 rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

This is the best book I've read all year. I've recomended it to friends and family and re-listened several times. We live in exciting times, and the fields of history and anthropology are constantly being challenged and changed as new discoveries are made. IMHO, Guns Germs and Steel set the gold standard for world history books. However, for the reasons I just mentioned, its important to keep up with emerging discoveries and new knowledge. I loved Mann's last book, 1491, for this reason. This book dramatically exceeds the previous work, no mean feat. For anyone interested in history, this is a MUST READ. Couldn't recomend more.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The chapters about colonial U.S. history were real eye-openers.

Any additional comments?

Not one to miss!

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Joshua Kim on 05-06-12

Learning 1493

A modern updating of Crosby's classic The Columbian Exchange, Mann traces the biological, epidemiological, and agricultural impact of trade between Europe, Asia and the America's after 1493.

1493 is a book for fans of Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma and Morris' Why the West Rules -- for Now.

If you like your history to be big, the scope to be wide, but to be tied into how you eat and pay your way in the world, then 1493 is probably perfect.

The last time I learned about the Columbian Exchange was in high school. Learning dates and the sequence of events, and getting familiar with maps and geography, was central to my high school history experience. As a history major in college the emphasis on maps, dates, and events diminished, as the work in primary sources came to the forefront.

I can't imagine 1493 will be much required in college history courses, as this type of historical narrative for a popular audience (written by a journalist and not a historian) probably does not conform to how postsecondary history is taught. This is perhaps too bad, as I just did not know most of the history of Columbian Exchange described in 1493.

Learning how to "do history", to work like historians, is probably not a bad thing. But most history undergraduate students will not go on to graduate school. A book like 1493, a book with strong opinions and lots of dates, geography, people and events, might be an example of the kind of works we should make room for in our history courses.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Andrew on 02-23-15

A startling new view of world history

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have a PhD in history yet the ideas expressed in this work are entirely new to me and challenge much of my previous understanding of the history of globalization. Not only are these ideas plausible but they also force us to rethink much of what we thought we knew. The author Charles Mann builds upon the works of others to synthesize a very accessible and insightful book. I found that narration was also of a very high standard and complimented the work well.

What other book might you compare 1493 to, and why?

Guns, Germs and Steel. Jared Diamond.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Sean Wafer on 12-10-17

One of the best

The world was changed forever the day Christopher Colombus set foot on the Easternmost tip of the Americas in 1492. From then on, a continent that had been naturally separated by land from the rest of the world for millennia were re-joined by mankind. I cannot speak highly enough about this book's utter brilliance, not only as a phenomenal book from a purely objective standpoint, but the icing on the cake was the subjectively enjoyable aspects, which I concede are not universally seen as positives: they include its incredible sweep, its vast scope, its voracious appetite for devouring subjects, throwing something new at you all the time and exploring them from start to finish. Each of the fascinating explorations of the "Colombian Exchange"'s highly variable localising effects reveals a stream of scientific, geographical, sociological, political, economic and essentially human curiosities and insights, all given a knowing historical context to their delivery. I listened, intently enraptured, to the stories of the late Ming Chinese and how silver and sweet potato changed everything; how an English bio-pirate stole thousands of seeds from Brazil resulting in a global industry vital to the modern world today; how a poisonous mountain root that could only be digested safely if eaten with frozen soil eventually fed most of Europe, how all of these exchanges were transformative, devastating, brilliant and inseparable from the world as we know it. A wonderfully exhilarating listen.

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