In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492.
Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that it has been called man’s first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. Challenging and surprising, this a transformative new look at a rich and fascinating world we only thought we knew.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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From the author of 1491—the best-selling study of the pre-Columbian Americas—a deeply engaging new history of the most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs.* *
More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed radically different suites of plants and animals. When Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas, he ended that separation at a stroke. Driven by the economic goal of establishing trade with China, he accidentally set off an ecological convulsion as European vessels carried thousands of species to new homes across the oceans.
The Columbian Exchange, as researchers call it, is the reason there are tomatoes in Italy, oranges in Florida, chocolates in Switzerland, and chili peppers in Thailand. More important, creatures the colonists knew nothing about hitched along for the ride. Earthworms, mosquitoes, and cockroaches; honeybees, dandelions, and African grasses; bacteria, fungi, and viruses; rats of every description—all of them rushed like eager tourists into lands that had never seen their like before, changing lives and landscapes across the planet.
Eight decades after Columbus, a Spaniard named Legazpi succeeded where Columbus had failed. He sailed west to establish continual trade with China, then the richest, most powerful country in the world. In Manila, a city Legazpi founded, silver from the Americas, mined by African and Indian slaves, was sold to Asians in return for silk for Europeans. It was the first time that goods and people from every corner of the globe were connected in a single worldwide exchange. Much as Columbus created a new world biologically, Legazpi and the Spanish empire he served created a new world economically.
As Charles C. Mann shows, the Columbian Exchange underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest research by ecologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians, Mann shows how the creation of this worldwide network of ecological and economic exchange fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Mexico City—where Asia, Europe, and the new frontier of the Americas dynamically interacted—the center of the world. In such encounters, he uncovers the germ of today’s fiercest political disputes, from immigration to trade policy to culture wars.
In 1493, Charles Mann gives us an eye-opening scientific interpretation of our past, unequaled in its authority and fascination.
From the Hardcover edition.
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‘Even the most cautious of travelers would, I think, be thrilled at the idea of visiting a remote tropical island. There seems to be something about tropical islands that stirs the blood of even the most unadventurous souls.’
Lying in the Indian Ocean, the islands of Mauritius and Madagascar – where millions of years of evolutionary isolation created a flora and fauna unique in the world - provide the exotic setting for Gerald Durrell’s expeditionary rescue work with animals. In his personal and delightful way he entertains, educates and makes a dramatic appeal to us all about the distressing state of these beautiful and endangered species around the world and shows us the serious consequences to life and its future on this earth. This exciting journey also inspired an international television series based on the author’s rescue and breeding operations.
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The Black Joke is a rousing sea story in the tradition of the great classic pirate tales. The time is the 1930s. The loot is bootleg liquor, not pirate gold. And the ship is the “Black Joke,” the speediest, nimblest craft on the Newfoundland coast – Jonathon Spence, owner and master. An unwelcome passenger enmeshes the boat and her crew (young Peter and Kye) in danger and near destruction…until the fiercely independent people of the island of Miquelon are caught up in the fate of the “Black Joke” and the cargo aboard her.
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'I was wrong,' said Captain Flint. 'He's not mad but bad. It isn't only eggs he wants. He wants to take the credit for it. You're quite right. It's up to us, it's up to the ship, to see he doesn't.'Dick's birdwatching discovery turns the cruise of the Sea Bear into a desperate chase. Not only do the Swallows and Amazons have to prove the facts of the case but they also have to dodge the savage natives and evade the ruthless pursuit of a fanatic egg-collector, determined to kill a pair of rare birds and steal the credit. Fortunately, Nancy has a few plans.
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Vison the mink, the bully of his litter, strikes out on his own after the sudden death of his mother Vison the mink has fought for everything—food, shelter, survival—almost from birth. The largest of his litter, he bullied his smaller sisters and was the first to venture out of the den. Returning home after hunting one day, Vison and his mother are cornered by Urocyon the gray fox. With no way out, Vison’s mother attacks the fox with full force, allowing Vison to escape. Back in the den, the mink kits wait for their mother, but she does not return. Bored with his weak sisters, Vison abandons them and leaves the den for good. But his mother still had much left to teach her kits about life in the wilderness. Has Vison learned enough to survive? This ebook features an illustrated biography of Jean Craighead George, including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.
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The fourth book in Arthur Ransome's classic series for children, Winter Holiday takes intrepid explorers John, Susan, Titty, and Roger Walker, and fearsome Amazon pirates Nancy and Peggy Blackett to the North Pole. Joined by budding novelist Dorethes Callum and her scientist brother Dick, the children plan an "Arctic" expedition. But unforseen events separate the travelers and disaster nearly strikes in the exciting climax of their race to the Pole.
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Fans of Gerald Durrell’s timeless classic My Family and Other Animals will love this hilarious tale, which finds him as an adult still charmed by his beloved animals. A Zoo in My Luggage begins with an account of Durrell’s third trip to the British Cameroons in West Africa, during which he and his wife capture animals to start their own zoo. Returning to England with a few additions to their family—Cholmondeley the chimpanzee, Bug-eye the bush baby, and others—they have nowhere to put them as they haven’t yet secured a place for their zoo. Durrell’s account of how he manages his menagerie in all sorts of places throughout England while finding a permanent home for the animals provides as much adventure as capturing them. For animal lovers of all ages, A Zoo in My Luggage is the romping true story of the boy who grew up to make a Noah’s Ark of his own.
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The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry gathers one hundred poems written between 1957 and 1996. Chosen by the author, these pieces have been selected from each of nine previously published collections. The rich work in this volume reflects the development of Berry’s poetic sensibility over four decades. Focusing on themes that have occupied his work for years--land and nature, family and community, tradition as the groundwork for life and culture-- The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry celebrates the broad range of this vital and transforming poet.
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Travel to the wilds of Cameroon with the conservationist whose work inspired Masterpiece production The Durrells in Corfu on public television.
In 1949, Gerald Durrell embarks with fellow zoologist Kenneth Smith on an expedition to collect rare animals in the British Cameroons in West Central Africa. There, he meets the Nero-like local ruler, the Fon of Bafut, who likes a man who can hold his liquor—will Durrell be able to get on his good side?
In this unique memoir, set off on a journey with the famed British naturalist’s group of hunters and his pack of motley hunting dogs as they encounter an array of exotic creatures, including flying mice, booming squirrels, a frog with a mysterious coat of hair, and teacup-size monkeys; and witness the joys and problems of collecting, keeping, and transporting wild animals from Africa to England.This ebook features an illustrated biography of Gerald Durrell including rare photos from the author’s estate.
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Sycamore Will wants a pet dog so badly—but a pet skunk might be just as nice! On a farm in the Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania, Meph the skunk and his littermate, just three days old, are caught in a flash flood and nearly drown in the cold waters. By the time their mother comes to their rescue, only Meph can be saved. Sycamore Will, tired of being ordered around the farm by his father, is building a fire in the hearth of the summer kitchen when he hears a scratching sound. To his delight, he finds Meph trying to dig into the foundation from the cellar! Will becomes determined to adopt the little skunk as a pet—but he’ll have to contend with Meph’s mother first. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Jean Craighead George, including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.
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A raging storm slashes across Assateague and Chincoteague islands. Water is everywhere The wild ponies and the people must battle for their lives.
In the midst of the storm, Misty-the famous mare of Chincoteague-is about to give birth. Paul and Maureen are frantic with worry as the storm rages on... will Misty and her colt survive?
This is the thrilling story of the hurricane that destroyed the wild herds of Assateague, and how strength and love helped rebuild them.
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In these seven interrelated stories we are again invited to Port William, Kentucky. Rich with humor and wisdom, this collection describes the depth of affection and tolerance for eccentricity that these neighbors bear toward one another, and highlights the comic and often poignant ways they cope with the intrusions of the 20th century into their idyllic, agrarian world.
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From the most celebrated children’s nature writer of our time comes a posthumous new novel in the tradition of her Newbery award-winning *Julie of the Wolves*
In 1848 in Barrow, Alaska, a young Eskimo boy witnesses a rare sight—the birth of a bowhead, or ice whale, that he calls Siku. But when he unwittingly guides Yankee whalers to a pod of bowhead whales, all the whales are killed. For this act, the boy receives a curse of banishment. Through the generations, this curse is handed down. Siku, the ice whale, returns year after year, in reality and dreams, to haunt each descendant. The curse is finally broken when a daughter recognizes and saves the whale, and he in turn saves her. Told in alternating voices, both human and whale, Jean Craighead George’s last novel is an ambitious and touching take on the interconnectedness of humans, animals, and the earth they depend on.
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Peter Lundy has two joys in life: the rugged western plains where he has grown up and San Domingo, a Medicine Hat Stallion. The Indians believe such a horse is sacred -- that neither bullet nor arrow can harm its rider. As they explore the prairie together, a bond forms between Peter and San Domingo that can never be broken. But Peter's father, Jethro Lundy, knows only one love: bargaining. He trades San Domingo for a thoroughbred. How can Peter ever forgive his father? His only choice is to leave home forever!
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