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October 04, 1992|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE REDISCOVERY OF AMERICA by Barry Lopez (Vintage: $8; 58 pp.). In his 1990 Thomas D. Clark Lecture, Lopez condemns the ongoing influence of the ruthless desire for material gain that motivated the 15th- and 16th-Century explorers: "We see a continuance in the present of this brutal, avaricious behavior, a profound abuse of the place during the course of centuries of demand for material wealth." Arguing that this exploitative mentality should be discarded, Lopez pleads for the development of a more rational and reverent attitude toward the land and its resources. His spare, eloquent prose makes this brief essay one of the most challenging documents in the current debate over the interpretation of Columbus' voyages and their aftermath.

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