Indian Givers


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Indian Givers
by Jack Weatherford

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Book Description

After 500 years, the world's huge debt to the wisdom of the Indians of the Americas has finally been explored in all its vivid drama by anthropologist Jack Weatherford. He traces the crucial contributions made by the Indians to our federal system of government, our democratic institutions, modern medicine, agriculture, architecture, and ecology, and in this astonishing, ground-breaking book takes a giant step toward recovering a true American history.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
The discovery and conquest of the New World changed the Old World forever, from economy and diet to the concept of personal freedom. Anthropologist Weatherford here examines the many contributions made by New World natives.

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"He labors a bit on the topic of architecture but makes a convincing case for Indian Givers and the role they played in re-shaping the world," commented PW .
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

"As entertaining as it is thoughtful....Few contemporary writers have Weatherford's talent for making the deep sweep of history seem vital and immediate."
THE WASHINGTON POST

From School Library Journal
YA-- Beginning with a clever title and continuing throughout the book, Weatherford lists the tremendous contributions which have been made by the Indian civilizations of the Americas to world culture. He shows the impact of gold and silver, agricultural techniques, medicine, and government on European history. The book makes for fascinating, thought-provoking reading, showing that Locke and Rousseau were both influenced by the concepts of power and government held by the people of the Americas before they produced their great documents of the Enlightenment. Weatherford also shows how the spread of the potato to Europe saved many lives from the malnutrition which had haunted them when grain crops had previously failed. He has a far-reaching scope and even suggests a fascinating theory on the purpose of Machu Picchu. By showing how the world was changed through these contributions, the author gives a greater appreciation of the Indians of America to readers. A fine synthesis book for global studies programs as well as American history.
- Barbara Weathers, Duchesne Academy, Houston
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
An anthropologist's world tour. Timbuktu, Machu Picchu, Europe, and the Orient revealing a seldom-told history. Behind scenes of everyday life, the author explains how the wealth and knowledge of Native America transformed and permeated Old World culture. The Native American roots of industrial capitalism and constitutional democracy, of the world's diverse cuisine and abundant pharmacopoeia, and of modern land use and transportation systems are demonstrated and documented. Although the title implies that the Indians donated or loaned their science to the world, native America was sacked and pillaged. This readable and informative adjunct to Alfred W. Crosby's The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 ( 1972) should have general appeal. Allen C. Turner, Univ. of Idaho, Pocatello
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Ingram
Lists the vital contributions that native Americans have made to modern society--from monetary systems to diets to political organizations. Reissue.

Excerpt - copyrighted material

Chapter 1: Silver and Money Capitalism

Each morning at five-thirty, Rodrigo Cespedes eats two rolls and drinks a cup of tea heavily laced with sugar before he slings his ratty Adidas gym bag over his shoulder and leaves for work. Rodrigo lives in Potosi, the world's highest city, perched in the Bolivian Andes at an elevation of 13,680 feet above sea level. At this altitude Rodrigo stays warm only when he holds himself directly in the sunlight, but this early in the morning, the streets are still dark. He walks with other men going in the same direction, but like most Quechua and Aymara Indians they walk along silently. The loudest sounds come from the scraping noise of the old women who laboriously sweep the streets each morning. Bent over their short straw brooms, these women look like medieval witches dressed in the traditional black garments woven in Potosi and the tall black hats native to the area.

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