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Check It Out: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

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This is Michael Maxwell with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out.

Today, I am recommending 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann—it’s the perfect book to read in November, which is Native American Heritage month.

1491 chronicles the cultures and civilizations that populated the Americas prior to contact with colonial powers. This book fills in the blanks- spanning all the way from South American and Mesoamerican empires like the Inca and Aztec through to civilizations closer to home such as the ancient Mississipians who built huge cities near modern-day St. Louis.

Mann shows readers how the Americas were cultivated and engineered to allow millions of inhabitants long before the arrival of Europeans in the area. Find out who invented corn and learn how the thundering herds of American bison came to dominate the Great Plains. 1491 blends technology, history, anthropology, and archaeology to give us a glimpse of what the Western hemisphere looked like during this flourishing time of human civilization.

Finally, 1491 does much to address the tough questions about what happened to many of these civilizations leading up to, and in the wake of, European colonization. What happened to the Mound Builders of the Midwest differs from what happened to the communities of the Hudson River Valley or the Incas of the Andes mountains. Readers will learn about the pre-contact occupants of the land that we live on today and come away with new questions about our history.

Check out 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann and other books about Native American history at the Sioux City Public Library.

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.

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