1491 by Charles C. MannA groundbreaking study that radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans in 1492. Traditionally, Americans learned in school that the ancestors of the people who inhabited the Western Hemisphere at the time of Columbus's landing had crossed the Bering Strait twelve thousand years ago; existed mainly in small, nomadic bands; and lived so lightly on the land that the Americas was, for all practical purposes, still a vast wilderness. But as Charles C. Mann now makes clear, archaeologists and anthropologists have spent the last thirty years proving these and many other long-held assumptions wrong. In a book that startles and persuades, Mann reveals how a new generation of researchers equipped with novel scientific techniques came to previously unheard-of conclusions. Among them: * In 1491 there were probably more people living in the Americas than in Europe. * Certain cities-such as Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital-were far greater in population than any contemporary European city. Furthermore, Tenochtitlán, unlike any capital in Europe at that time, had running water, beautiful botanical gardens, and immaculately clean streets. * The earliest cities in the Western Hemisphere were thriving before the Egyptians built the great pyramids. * Pre-Columbian Indians in Mexico developed corn by a breeding process so sophisticated that the journal Science recently described it as "man's first, and perhaps the greatest, feat of genetic engineering." * Amazonian Indians learned how to farm the rain forest without destroying it-a process scientists are studying today in the hope of regaining this lost knowledge. * Native Americans transformed their land so completely that Europeans arrived in a hemisphere already massively "landscaped" by human beings. Mann sheds clarifying light on the methods used to arrive at these new visions of the pre-Columbian Americas and how they have affected our understanding of our history and our thinking about the environment. His book is an exciting and learned account of scientific inquiry and revelation.
Call Number: E61 .M266 2005
Publication Date: 2005-08-09
Daily Life on the Old Colonial Frontier by James M. Volo; Dorothy Denneen VoloExplore daily life on the American frontier, where European colonial powers interacted, often violently, among native peoples and each other--with each side considering the land to be rightly theirs. The frontier region was the interface between the American wilderness and European-style civilization. To the Europeans, the frontier teemed with undomesticated and unfamiliar beasts, and even its indigenous peoples seemed perplexing, uninhibited, and violent. The frontier was both a place and a process. It was not a clear line along which contending cultures collided, but rather a disrupted region in which they interacted. On the frontier, explorers, traders, missionaries, colonists, and native peoples all came into contact. Everyday life was filled with the difficulties of trading, trapping, and farming, not to mention the threat of violence that seemed to be ever present. Examining the period from the perspective of both Europeans and Native Americans, and featuring more than 40 illustrations, photographs, and maps, this is the perfect book for everyone interested in how people lived in this fascinating region during this critical time.; Starting with an overview of the time period and a description of the region and the peoples involved, the authors trace, in 15 chapters, the aspects of daily life from the southern colonies up into Canada. Along the way attention is paid to various competing religions and worldviews, intertribal trade and warfare, the fur trade, French colonies, English colonies, frontier homes, Indian raids, colonial reprisals, life as a captive, the militia, fortifications, and a world at war. Illustrations feature artifacts, clothes, locations, and maps, adding a visual element to enhance understanding. Finally, a bibliography and an index will aid researchers who want to know more about one of the most prominent collision of cultures in human history.
Call Number: E46 .V65 2002
Publication Date: 2002
First Founders by Francis J. BremerFrancis J. Bremer has spent his entire career broadening our understanding of America's colonial founders. Now, in this eminently readable collection of biographies, Bremer brings us a surprisingly varied and dynamic group of characters who continue to guide and influence America today. With its cast of magistrates, women, clergy, merchants, and Native Americans, First Founders underscores the breadth of early American experience and the profound transatlantic roots of our country's forebears. Bremer succeeds in bringing little-known figures out of the shadows, while allowing us to appreciate better known figures in an entirely new light. This is a truly fascinating look at the Puritans with keenly drawn portraits and the insight that only a lifetime of scholarship can achieve. It should become the standard introduction to the field. Written in the mold of Joseph Ellis's Founding Brothers and Gordon Wood's Revolutionary Characters, the book will appeal to general readers, students, and scholars alike.
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