How Much Better is 1493 is Than 1491? It's Two Better . . .
Charles Mann's new book 1493: Uncovering The New World Columbus Created is worth the price of admission simply for the chapter on malaria, but my favorite section covers the phenomenon of the quilombo-- a fugitive slave town established in the forests and jungles of South and Central America . . . of the millions of slaves imported to the Americas, countless thousands escaped the horrors of the cane fields and silver mines by vanishing into the jungle to establish communities "protected by steep terrain, thickly packed trees, treacherous rivers, and lethal booby traps" and these settlements-- often built in conjunction with the natives, who were also targeted for slavery-- endured for decades or even centuries (El Salvador's quilombo Liberdade has a population of 600,000 and is said to be the largest Afro- American community in the Western Hemisphere) and Mann's country by country history of these off-the-grid villages, towns and cities, which (to an untrained eye) were often indistinguishable from pristine jungle and which existed in surprisingly close proximity to the white settlements, with the expected consequences: the denizens of the quilombos waged guerrilla warfare, engaged in diplomacy, and traded with the ruling Spanish, Dutch, and Portuguese; the Europeans usually gave up on the fight and negotiated because they were laid low from jungle diseases that the natives and African Americans were immune to . . . and because Charles Mann enlightened me on so many new topics in such a detailed and engaging manner, I am giving this book the highest honor that The Sentence of Dave can bestow: it scores 1493 points out of a possible 1491 and I am replacing Mann's previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus with the sequel on my list of 105 Books to Read Before You Die . . . congratulations Charles Mann, I can imagine how proud you are to make The List.