Mann, Charles C. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. New York: Knopf, 2005. Print.
Everyone has a history. This is probably one of the most essential things that Holmberg, a doctoral student in the 1940s learnt. He spent some time of his life with the Beni people of a very large province called Bolivia. He had never seen a community that lived so primitively before and for a moment he though it had always been that way. It seemed as if the community did not have any history. This was indeed a mistake. The Beni people were the remnants of a generation that was wiped away by smallpox in the early 1900s. The Beni community was a primitive one and there was enough evidence that Holmberg came to learn later. He was shown traces of buildings that the ancestors of the Beni built and flyovers that were used to trap fish during rainy seasons. The other mistake was the assumption that the Americans had little impact on the land and they waited for other people to develop it.
- Introduction: The author describes the journey Bolivia and the first experience with the Beni.
- Holmberg’s mistake
- The author narrates his experience with the Beni and highlights the culture of the Beni.
- Empty of the mankind and his work
- The author realized the misconceptions he had made earlier about the Beni people.
- The other Neolithic revolutions
- The author explains the archeological perspective of migration of the Indians into America.
- A guided tour
- This is a detailed explanation of the history of Bolivia.
Holmberg thought the Siriono were the most undeveloped people in the world.
- He could not understand how a community lived without clothes, domestic animals, and music instruments (Mann 8).
The author asks whether any large scale group could endorse the burning of Amazonia (Mann 5).
- At this time, the Beni people were setting ablaze most parts of the plains to make them natural. Holmberg wondered if any outside community could allow this to continue happening.
The flow of the story is comprehensive and every chapter has a link to the preceding one. It makes it easy for the reader to connect the events that took place in Bolivia and enhances the understanding of the mistakes.
Mann, Charles C. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. New York: Knopf, 2005. Print