Tuesday, October 11, 2005
A knowledge of history is the principal conduit of civilization, but history is not a static thing that remains unchanged. History is a creative rediscovery, reinterpretation and re-evaluation of the past: ever changing, ever evolving. Charles C. Mann's 1491 is just such a creative rediscovery of the Americas. He has harvested the most recent scholarship and discovery from both archaeology and anthropology and presented an accessible text that paints a new picture of North and South America as it existed prior to Columbus's "discovery." He presents a world that was "new" only to Europeans. In 1491 Mann paints the picture of a world that is new and which displaces a severely outdated understanding of Native American culture.