A very insightful and highly edifying book. The narration was consistent, but the voice was just too deep; it became irritating at times. Although its a history book, there is relatively less narration of historical events (and where it occurs its a bit awkward) than there is explanation of numerous forces (but not all of them) that shaped world history after the discovery of the New World. Most of the most interesting explanations relate to biology, and how biological/ecological changes interacted with Man's 'sacred hunger' for wealth and power. The best example of this, for me, was the account of China in the second quarter or so the work. This book is a necessary addendum and corrective to any more conventional study of post-Columbus world history.
I stumbled across this and it was an incredible find, reminiscent of Guns, Germs, and Steel It explains in a lively way how globalization began in 1493 and shaped the present world. I totally agree with the glowing NY Times book review.
Masterful presentation of some of the global consequences of the "Columbian exchange". The author explores intriguing questions such as how malaria might have been brought to the New World, how guano from the Americas may have caused the Irish potato famine, how Native American staples such as maize, sweet potatoes and potatoes improved the European and Chinese diet, how imported rubber trees of Brazil transformed Asian economies, and why the early colonization of the Americas after Columbus should rightly be characterized as African, rather than European. When I read of trade imbalances with China going all the way back to the sixteenth century, I realize that many of our 21st century were foreshadowed 500 years ago.
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