Award-winning author Tony Horwitz discusses the research and writing process for his book A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America (2008).
Charles Mann’s book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus (Knopf, 2005) won the US National Academy of Sciences’ 2006 Keck Award for the best book of the year. In this lecture he looks at new research on pre-Columbian America. Mann concludes that the Americas had been heavily populated and developed before the arrival of Columbus but then were rapidly depopulated by the introduction of European and African diseases, giving Europeans the mistaken idea that the land was a vast, empty wilderness.
In this lecture Elliott West, a professor of history at the University of Arkansas, describes how the introduction of Old World phenomena such as guns, horses, and new diseases affected the Native peoples of the New World. Those who accepted new technology gained huge societal advantages. On the other hand, European diseases ravaged the indigenous people of the New World who had no inherent immunity to the imported germs.