Describes how recent archaeological research has transformed long-held myths about the Americas, revealing far older and more advanced cultures with a greater population than were previously thought to have existed.
In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492. Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that it has been called man’s first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. Challenging and surprising, this a transformative new look at a rich and fascinating world we only thought we knew. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Up until very recently it was believed that in 1491, the year before Columbus landed, the Americas, one-third of the earth's surface, were a near-pristine wilderness inhabited by small roaming bands of indigenous people. But recently unexpected discoveries have dramatically changed our understanding of Indian life. Many scholars now argue that the Indians were much more numerous, were in the Americas for far longer and had far more ecological impact on the land than previously believed. This knowledge has enormous implications for today's environmental disputes, yet little has filtered into textbooks and even less into public awareness. Mann brings together all of the latest research, and the results of his own travels throughout North and South America, to provide a new, fascinating and iconoclastic account of the Americas before Columbus.
1493 for Young People by Charles C. Mann tells the gripping story of globalization through travel, trade, colonization, and migration from its beginnings in the fifteenth century to the present. How did the lowly potato plant feed the poor across Europe and then cause the deaths of millions? How did the rubber plant enable industrialization? What is the connection between malaria, slavery, and the outcome of the American Revolution? How did the fabled silver mountain of sixteenth-century Bolivia fund economic development in the flood-prone plains of rural China and the wars of the Spanish Empire? Here is the story of how sometimes the greatest leaps also posed the greatest threats to human advancement. Mann's language is as plainspoken and clear as it is provocative, his research and erudition vast, his conclusions ones that will stimulate the critical thinking of young people. 1493 for Young People provides tools for wrestling with the most pressing issues of today, and will empower young people as they struggle with a changing world. From the Hardcover edition.
"Meltzer's compelling account of the data and the debates takes readers behind the scenes of the often contentious arguments that have redirected the scientific pursuit of the first Americans."--Tom D. Dillehay, author of The Settlement of the Americas "In remarkably comprehensive and lucid fashion, Meltzer synthesizes the complex and commonly conflicting evidence for the earliest human presence in the Americas and provides an honestly told lesson about the workings of scientific thought."--David Hurst Thomas, author of Skull Wars "A natural storyteller, David Meltzer gives us a vivid picture of both the colonizing bands of humans who moved into the Americas and the researchers who followed their footsteps from Alaska to Chile. This is an insider's account, told with a keen eye and sense of humor, as if Meltzer were there when discoveries were made and when disputes were aired--as, indeed, he often was."--Ann Gibbons, author of The First Human: The Race to Discover our Earliest Ancestors "The settling of the Americas has been a first-rate scientific puzzle since Columbus stumbled across the peoples of the Caribbean. David Meltzer is its ideal chronicler: a major participant in the research that is unlocking the mystery and a fine writer with a wry humor. Thank goodness there aren't too many scientists like him--science journalists like me would be out of business."--Charles C. Mann, author of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Tapping the potential of the changing workforce, consumer base, and citizenry requires a leadership approach that resonates with our country's growing diversity. In "Salsa, Soul, and Spirit," Juana Bordas shows how incorporating Latino, African American, and American Indian approaches to leadership into the mainstream has the potential to strengthen leadership practices and inspire today's ethnically rich workforce. Bordas identifies eight core leadership principles common to all three cultures, principles deeply rooted in each culture's values and developed under the most trying conditions. Using a lively blend of personal reflections, interviews, and historical background, she shows how these principles developed and illustrates the creative ways they've been put into practice in these communities (and some forward-looking companies). Bordas brings these principles together into a multicultural leadership model that offers a more flexible and inclusive way to lead and a new vision of the role of the leader in the organization. Multicultural leadership resonates with many cultures and encourages diverse people to actively engage. In a globalized economy, success for leaders in the future will rest on their ability to shift to a multicultural approach. "Salsa, Soul, and Spirit" provides conceptual and practical guidelines for beginning that process.
Why do we keep talking about so many environmental problems and rarely solve any? If these are scientific issues, then why can't scientists solve them or at least agree on what to do? In his new book, The Moon in the Nautilus Shell, ecologist Daniel Botkin explains why. For one thing, although we live in a world of constantly changing environments and talk a lot about climate change, most of our environmental laws, policies, and scientific premises are based on the idea that the environment is constant, never changing, except when people affect it. For another, we have lost contact with nature in personal ways. Disconnected from our surroundings, we lack the deep understanding and feelings about the environment to make meaningful judgments. The environment has become just another one of those special interests that interferes with our lives. Poised to be a core text of the twenty-first century environmental movement, The Moon in the Nautilus Shell challenges us to think critically about our role in nature.
An Empire of Regions is a refreshing interpretation of British American history that demonstrates how the thirteen British mainland colonies grew to function as self-governing entities in distinct regional clusters. In lucid prose, Eric Nellis invites readers to explore the circumstances leading to the colonies' collective defense of their individual interests, and to reevaluate the founding principles of the United States. There is considerable discussion of social conditions and of the British background to the colonies' development. Extensive treatment of slavery, the slave trade, and native populations is provided, while detailed maps illustrate colony boundaries, settlement growth, and the impact of the Proclamation Line. This absorbing and compelling narrative will captivate both newcomers to and enthusiasts of American history.
In the traditional narrative of American colonial history, early European settlements, as well as native peoples and African slaves, were treated in passing as unfortunate aberrations in a fundamentally upbeat story of Englishmen becoming freer and more prosperous by colonizing an abundant continent of "free land." Over the last generation, historians have broadened our understanding of colonial America by adopting both a trans-Atlantic and a trans-continental perspective, examining the interplay of Europe, Africa, and the Americas through the flow of goods, people, plants, animals, capital, and ideas. In this Very Short Introduction, Alan Taylor presents an engaging overview of the best of this new scholarship. He shows that American colonization derived from a global expansion of European exploration and commerce that began in the fifteenth century. The English had to share the stage with the French, Spanish, Dutch, and Russians, each of whom created alternative Americas. By comparing the diverse colonies of rival empires, Taylor recovers what was truly distinctive about the English enterprise in North America. He focuses especially on slavery as central to the economy, culture, and political thought of the colonists and restores the importance of native peoples to the colonial story. To adapt to the new land, the colonists needed the expertise, guidance, alliance, and trade of the Indians who dominated the interior. This historical approach emphasizes the ability of the diverse natives to adapt to the newcomers and to compel concessions from them. This Very Short Introduction describes an intermingling of cultures and of microbes, plants, and animals--from different continents that was unparalleled in global history. Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.