• by Charles C. Mann
  • Narrated by Robertson Dean
  • 17 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the author of 1491 - the best-selling study of the pre-Columbian Americas - a deeply engaging new history that explores the most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs.
More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed totally different suites of plants and animals. Columbus’s voyages brought them back together - and marked the beginning of an extraordinary exchange of flora and fauna between Eurasia and the Americas. As Charles Mann shows, this global ecological tumult - the “Columbian Exchange” - underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest generation of research by scientists, Mann shows how the creation of this worldwide network of exchange fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Manila and Mexico City - where Asia, Europe, and the new frontier of the Americas dynamically interacted - the center of the world.
In 1493, Charles Mann gives us an eye-opening scientific interpretation of our past, unequaled in its authority and fascination.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A startling new view of world history

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have a PhD in history yet the ideas expressed in this work are entirely new to me and challenge much of my previous understanding of the history of globalization. Not only are these ideas plausible but they also force us to rethink much of what we thought we knew. The author Charles Mann builds upon the works of others to synthesize a very accessible and insightful book. I found that narration was also of a very high standard and complimented the work well.

What other book might you compare 1493 to, and why?

Guns, Germs and Steel. Jared Diamond.

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- Andrew

One of the best

The world was changed forever the day Christopher Colombus set foot on the Easternmost tip of the Americas in 1492. From then on, a continent that had been naturally separated by land from the rest of the world for millennia were re-joined by mankind. I cannot speak highly enough about this book's utter brilliance, not only as a phenomenal book from a purely objective standpoint, but the icing on the cake was the subjectively enjoyable aspects, which I concede are not universally seen as positives: they include its incredible sweep, its vast scope, its voracious appetite for devouring subjects, throwing something new at you all the time and exploring them from start to finish. Each of the fascinating explorations of the "Colombian Exchange"'s highly variable localising effects reveals a stream of scientific, geographical, sociological, political, economic and essentially human curiosities and insights, all given a knowing historical context to their delivery. I listened, intently enraptured, to the stories of the late Ming Chinese and how silver and sweet potato changed everything; how an English bio-pirate stole thousands of seeds from Brazil resulting in a global industry vital to the modern world today; how a poisonous mountain root that could only be digested safely if eaten with frozen soil eventually fed most of Europe, how all of these exchanges were transformative, devastating, brilliant and inseparable from the world as we know it. A wonderfully exhilarating listen.
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- Sean Wafer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-08-2011
  • Publisher: Random House Audio