Chicago Humanities Festival– Nov 5, 2012
No name seems more inextricably linked to the grand hemispheric experiment of “America” than Christopher Columbus. Seen alternately as explorer and conqueror, hero and villain, Columbus endures as an essential character in America’s national story: his “discovery” of America in 1492 changed the course of history. Who better to interpret this undeniable influence than author Charles C. Mann? A correspondent for The Atlantic, Science, and Wired, Mann authored 1491, an award-winning study of the pre-Columbian Americas, and 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. Both of these books take a riveting look at the earliest days of globalization, introducing a new generation to the conundrum of the “New World.” Mann shares an expansive and compelling vision of the “ecological convulsion” of European trade practices that continues to shape our world.