Full of interesting, relevant color photos and maps, this oversized coffee table-sized book is a great introduction to the American Indian for school children (I'd recommend 4th grade and above) or even adults who want a quick and painless introduction to the topic.
Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491 is Mann's adaptation of his larger work 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus and he succeeds at making it age appropriate without watering it down.
All major groups and most geographic zones are covered quite well with special emphasis on the Mayans, Olmecs and the Incas. Mann also discusses the role of disease in the Old World conquest of the New World (sadly, too often overlooked in too many textbooks!) and the importance of the development of maize.
Highly recommended. 5 stars out of 5.
Reviewed on December 15, 2009.
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