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Book Group Discussion - 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 1:00pm

Charles C Mann (2006) offers a revisionist view of pre-Colombian America, asserting that the Indians were not sparsely populated and did not live lightly on the land.

Contrary to what so many of us learned in school, huge numbers of Indians actively molded and influenced the land around them. They did not live in a "wilderness Eden." The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, for example, had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Indians were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we can only understand with deeper knowledge of what their cultures looked like from inside. Mann identifies specific aspects of the conventional wisdom that are overturned by quite recent research. [sc]