1492 is a year that most Americans can immediately identify with. It was, of course, the year that North America was discovered by the beautifully misguided explorer Christopher Columbus. But what came after that?

Sure, in the five hundred years-plus that have passed since the Italian landed on our shores, we’ve done alright setting things up. Just look at Las Vegas, Cowboys Stadium or the Constitution, to name a few truly American accomplishments. That doesn’t mean that things were all peachy keen in the time directly after his arrival however, namely 1493 and the years thereafter.

Charles C. Mann, the best-selling author of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, moves a few lunar cycles forward in his engrossing sequel, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created ($12), to examine how the country developed following our boy Christopher’s triumphant discovery, in the context of how the rest of the world was influenced, for better or worse. He may have ultimately gone the wrong way, but Columbus’ left a lasting impact, one that some may argue even surpasses Jerryworld.

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