What do we really know about life in the "New World" before the "Old World" invaded it? In American history textbooks, life pre-Columbus is shortened to a page or a few paragraphs. This book seeks to remedy that, to shine a spotlight on the tremendous civilizations that populated North and South America.
With the first whiff of contact with the new land, the Europeans spread smallpox to the Indians, even before seeing them. Their animals interspersed their germs into the forests, where the disease quickly spread and ravaged entire populations. By the time actual people to people contact was established, the civilizations were already in serious decline.
How did the ancient Indians get here? Multiple migrations out of the Bering Strait area, then down the coast in boats. Artifacts have been dated from 13,000 years ago on the new continents.
They'd invented the wheel, only to use it in toys but not to do labor-- they were lacking large pack animals to harness, plus wheels not effective on the landscaped roads they had build for llamas (steep steps).
At any rate, highly readable look on the social, political and ecological environment of the area pre-"Discovery".
Recommended by Kottke.