Before Columbus: the Americas of 1491 is a fascinating look at the indigenous civilizations of the Americas. So many histories give a Eurocentric version of indigenous American cultures, dismissing them as either primitive or bloodthirsty. In fact, European conquerors/settlers found sophisticated civilizations in the Americas. Some had huge cities dominated by mammoth public buildings, others had irrigation systems, genetically engineered crops, and thriving arts traditions. This is an adaptation of Mann’s award-winning book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. It’s designed for middle-school readers, but adults will also appreciate the accessible way that Mann presents the information. Maps, illustrations and photos make the stories of these peoples come alive.
reviewed by Victoria