Monday, September 27, 2004

They Came Before Columbus

This book, by Ivan Van Sertima and originally published in the mid '70s, presents evidence for travel by Africans to the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. I don't know enough to comment on some of the more nuanced kinds of evidence about specific facets -- things like linguistic patterns, cultural commonalities, seed drift, and so on -- but I am convinced by the overall thesis. It isn't the most engagingly written book of history I've ever read but just the fact that it was pouring some content into the huge blank spaces in my head that largely enompass history of non-European parts of the planet before contact with Europeans kept me turning pages. Read it!

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