What do Italian tomato sauce, Florida oranges and Thai chili peppers have in common? All are products that are not native to those lands. Every American knows that 1492 was when Columbus “discovered” the New World. It was also the moment when, biologically, the world changed.
In his previous bestselling book, 1491, Charles C. Mann gave the history of the Americas before Columbus. With 1493, he tells a biological detective story in which the transplanting of life forms to new regions – rats, grasses, beetles and bugs – is seen as the secret force behind a great deal of history and upheaval, from the rise of Europe to today’s culture wars.