1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, Charles C. Mann

I hope to add to this ‘review’ as I go along. But for now I’m going to confine my comments to saying that Charles C. Mann is a journalist, and his bibliography alone will show what I came to realize as I read his book. A balanced, fair, and well researched presentation of facts that have been know for a very long time.

He says, right at the beginning of the book, that he had been waiting for somebody to write the book, and finally gave up waiting, and wrote it himself.

How have my thoughts I have about writing a book been impacted by reading a book like this one? Don’t try to be what I am not. I am no scholar. I felt great comfort in reading C. S. Lewis describing himself as a Layman, and that his book, Mere Christianity is as a Layman. I would be daunted trying to quote chapter and verse like Mr Mann has done. It leaves me in awe.

As far as the facts presented, I received much more from him than I expected. Little things like the origin of Corn on the Cob (the people’s of South America ‘invented it’… it didn’t exist in wild form. It was developed using another plant called Teosinte)

I found out that the cause known as SAVE THE AMAZON RAIN FOREST is a much more complex matter than one could possibly imagine, and the issues debated go back to… well here’s a quote:

Beneath the entangling personal motives, the debate is one of the oldest in the Western philosophical tradition, between nomos and physis. The ancient Greeks saw existence as a contest between nomos (rationality/order/artifice) and physis (irrationality/chaos/nature). In environmental terms, Thoreau, who saw the landscape as imbued with an essential wildness that could be heedlessly destroyed, embodies physis. Physis says, Let Nature be our guide; step out of the way of the environment, and it will know how to keep itself healthy. Nomos is the postmodern philosopher who argues that the entire landscape is constructed—that it has no essential, innate qualities, but is simply a reflection of chance and human action. Nomos says that no one ecological state is inherently preferable to any other, but that all of them are a product of human choices (even the ones with no people, since we will have made the choice not to go there).