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Up until very recently it was believed that in 1491, the year before Columbus landed, the Americas, one-third of the earth's surface, were a near-pristine wilderness inhabited by small, roaming bands of indigeus people. But recently unexpected discoveries have dramatically changed our understanding of Indian Life. Many scholars w argue that the Indians were much more numerous, were in the Americas for far longer, and had far more ecological impact on the land than previously believed. This kwledge has ermous implications for today's environmental disputes, yet little has filtered into textbooks, and even less into public awareness. Mann brings together all of the latest research, and the results of his own travels throughout North and South America, to provide a new, fascinating and icoclastic account of the Americas before Columbus.
Charles Mann is the co-author of four books, including The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in 20th Century Physics and Noah's Choice: The Future of Endangered Species. He is the correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and Science magazines, and editorial co-ordinator for the internationally best-selling Material World books. He lives in Massachusetts.