After reading the second half of the book 1491 by Charles C. Mann I continued to learn more about the level of cultural advancement of the indigenous people and how they altered the wilderness using mostly fire. Also, Mann discusses how the Clovis culture in New Mexico was one of the first groups to use carbon dating. Another big focus in the second half of the book was Agriculture and how the crops grown really grew the populations among civilizations. Since Mesoamerica cultures were isolated, they didn’t learn many inventions from other cultures as Eurasia did, causing them to lack domesticated animals and essential inventions such as the wheel that other cultures had. I also learned about the Maya culture and how it fell because they ran out of resources to use, leading to starvation and many deaths. By the time the Europeans came to the Americas the indigenous people were almost completely gone due to disease, and evidence showed their use of fire to create cultivating lands and a place for wild game to come to be domesticated.
Overall I thought this book gave me a better insight on what early life was like before Columbus in the Americas. There were many facts brought into this book and even opinions by the author to give a better insight. Mann also explains the stereotypes people have shared,how Indians didn’t alter the land before the Europeans showed up. He would create arguments in this book to show how the early Americas really were.
I would rate this book a 3 out of 5. This was a good read, but there was lots of extra detail and opinions that made it longer than needed. Mann carefully sifted through evidence without jumping to conclusions to create a book that gave us a visual of the early Americas. He included some of his personal experiences he has had from traveling the world through his time of research that added a nice touch to the book.
One of my favorite more outdoorsy book I’ve read is My Side of the Mountain. This book brings you right into the mountains and the life of a young boy who lives off of flint and steel due to running away from his city in New York.
Another great book is The Fault In Our Stars, this is a more sad novel but still a great read. Hazel, who is 16 years old faces cancer that has spread to her lungs and she tries to live the normal teenager life but fears for her parents emotional state after she should die.