• by Charles C. Mann
  • Narrated by Robertson Dean
  • 17 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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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- avdefsa

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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- Joshua Kim

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-09-2011
  • Publisher: Random House Audio