The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003 - History - 283 pages
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Thirty years ago, Alfred Crosby published a small work that illuminated a simple point, that the most important changes brought on by the voyages of Columbus were not social or political, but biological in nature. The book told the story of how 1492 sparked the movement of organisms, both large and small, in both directions across the Atlantic. This Columbian exchange, between the Old World and the New, changed the history of our planet drastically and forever.

The book The Columbian Exchange changed the field of history drastically and forever as well. It has become one of the foundational works in the burgeoning field of environmental history, and it remains one of the canonical texts for the study of world history. This 30th anniversary edition of The Columbian Exchange includes a new preface from the author, reflecting on the book and its creation, and a new foreword by J. R. McNeill that demonstrates how Crosby established a brand new perspective for understanding ecological and social events. As the foreword indicates, The Columbian Exchange remains a vital book, a small work that contains within the inspiration for future examinations into what happens when two peoples, separated by time and space, finally meet.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Dan.Allosso - LibraryThing

For environmental historians, The Columbian Exchange is one of those books that must be read. Although the book is now 42 years old, and contains some outdated information (for example, Crosby based ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing

A Seminal book that opened the revival of exo-biology. There's a more recent work, "1493" by Charles C. Mann, that I'm hoping to get to soon. We have opened a Pandora's box of shared plants and ... Read full review


The Contrasts
Conquistador y Pestilencia
Old World Plants and Animals in the New World
The Early History of Syphilis A Reappraisal
New World Foods and Old World Demography
The Columbian Exchange Continues
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Page 7 - I wish to describe the appearance of the bulls, it is to be noticed first that there was not one of the horses that did not take flight when he saw them first, for they have a narrow, short face, the brow two palms across from eye to eye, the eyes sticking out at the side, so that, when they are running, they can see who is following them. They have very long beards, like goats, and when they are running they throw their heads back with the beard dragging on the ground.
Page 4 - I have been here but a short time, halfa day; yet if there were any I couldn't have failed to see them. . . . There were dogs that never barked. . . . All the trees were as different from ours as day from night, and so the fruits, the herbage, the rocks.

About the author (2003)

ALFRED W. CROSBY JR. is Professor Emeritus of American Studies, History, and Geography at the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author of Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (1986), America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918 (1989), The Measure of Reality: Quantification and Western Society, 1250-1600 (1997), and most recently Throwing Fire: Projectile Technology through History (2002).

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