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1491: 'New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus'


Sevenbak

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I haven't read this new book yet, but am very much looking forward to it. Has anyone here read it?

There has been several LDS blogs that detail the vast populations in the millions described in his book, the deforestation of North America, and it's regrowth prior to European colonization, as well as many other points that support the LDS view. Here's the Amazon review:

Although recent years have yielded significant progress in understanding how "Indians" lived throughout the Americas before 1492 and Columbus, only isolated bits of the story have reached the popular press. Far too many people still hold to one of two myths of the Indians, or have little conception at all of pre-Columbian America.

The first popular myth is that the Indians were a bunch of primitive savages just keeping the land warm until superior Europeans showed up. It's sad to read reviews here that assert that because Indians used stone tools they were therefore "stone age", with the implication that their culture was no further advanced than that early period.

The second myth makes the Indians into proto-flower-children, naively and simply in tune with their environment.

Both myths are based on stereotyping and are condescending to the pre-Colombians. How could people spread over two continents and many millennia be briefly summarized? They can't be! The Americas saw the development of a broad range of cultures, just like every other inhabited area of the world. Some cultures overstressed their environment and soon collapsed. Others created stable conditions under which they could survive for generations. (Which is not the same as saying they didn't impact nature.) But even the latter could be brought down by climate change, political instability, disease (especially European), or contact with outsiders (Indian or European).

Great cities arose in mesoamerica and the Andes, and also in other areas when the right conditions prevailed. And sophisticated cultures existed even where city building wasn't favored.

This book takes the reader through a vibrant overview of centuries of Indian culture both before and shortly after Columbus landed. Much of the narrative is based on work-in-progress by archaeologists and historians, and will certainly become dated with time, but it is an important update to the common, current understanding of the subject.

For those not enthralled by one of the myths I mention above, most Americans recall our history along the lines of Scene 1: The Pilgrims land and encounter Indians who teach them how to grow corn; they then have a big Thanksgiving party together. Scene 2: Americans moving inland encounter savage Indians who need to be exterminated or moved to reservations to make the continent safe for manifest destiny. Scene 3: The few remaining Indians are victims of brutal European suppression, and we need to buy jewelry and pottery from them to make ourselves feel better about the situation.

This book is a welcome update to our thinking about the Americas before Columbus. It's also one of the best books I've read in long time, and I highly recommend it.

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The book 1491 was discussed in a few different threads about a year ago (year and a half?). Anyways, I've read some of it, really enjoyed it, then had to give it back to the library. :P I want a copy of my own!

My brother owns a copy. Unfortunately for him, he loaned it to me, and I read it all the way through (marvelous book!) and I still haven't given it back to him. I think he lent it to me about six months ago.

The book isn't "new" however. It has a 2005 copyright. But it's new enough, I guess.

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My brother owns a copy. Unfortunately for him, he loaned it to me, and I read it all the way through (marvelous book!) and I still haven't given it back to him. I think he lent it to me about six months ago.

The book isn't "new" however. It has a 2005 copyright. But it's new enough, I guess.

Sorry, just heard about it. I guess 4 years isn't new. :P

Must-get-a-copy...

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This book is a welcome update to our thinking about the Americas before Columbus. It's also one of the best books I've read in long time, and I highly recommend it.

Another good one is "1421" about the Chinese navigating the entire globe. It includes descriptions of settlements all over the Western Hemisphere and the isles of the sea.

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Another good one is "1421" about the Chinese navigating the entire globe. It includes descriptions of settlements all over the Western Hemisphere and the isles of the sea.

There is another one, released this year I believe about the lost city of z. Basically, the findings are that the Amazon jungle, rather than the common perceptions of scattered tribes and natives that worshiped nature and preserved their lifestyle, deforested the Amazon and built huge cities, which they are starting to find, and were millions of people strong.

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Sevenbak,

I read 1491 a couple of years ago.

Having read the book, I find it hard to understand how it supports the Book of Mormon. The author actually mentions the Book of Mormon, describing it as another antiquated myth supporting the predominant view of the time that all the Indians where some how descendent from the lost tribes of Israel.

He makes many points throughout the book that raise additional questions about the Book of Mormon. For instance he discusses migration, technology, timelines, diet and religion which contradict BOM history.

If anything 1491 creates more problems for the Book of Mormon and the Church.

Best,

Johnny

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Sevenbak,

I read 1491 a couple of years ago.

Having read the book, I find it hard to understand how it supports the Book of Mormon. The author actually mentions the Book of Mormon, describing it as another antiquated myth supporting the predominant view of the time that all the Indians where some how descendent from the lost tribes of Israel.

He makes many points throughout the book that raise additional questions about the Book of Mormon. For instance he discusses migration, technology, timelines, diet and religion which contradict BOM history.

If anything 1491 creates more problems for the Book of Mormon and the Church.

Best,

Johnny

Johnny, I'll reserve judgement, having heard just the opposite, including from non-LDS friends who have read it.

Cheers.

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There is another one, released this year I believe about the lost city of z. Basically, the findings are that the Amazon jungle, rather than the common perceptions of scattered tribes and natives that worshiped nature and preserved their lifestyle, deforested the Amazon and built huge cities, which they are starting to find, and were millions of people strong.

This idea was also addressed in the book "1491".

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