May 18, 2021

EP. 105 — The Truth about the Americas in 1491 with Charles C. Mann

This week Adam welcomes an author whose book blew his mind more than perhaps any other. Americans are typically taught that prior to the arrival of European settlers, indigenous communities were sparsely populated, lacked technology, and did little to shape the natural landscape. But as this week’s guest Charles C. Mann’s 1491 tells Adam, the most recent research reveals that the American indigenous civilizations were sophisticated, dynamic, and massively populated. Purchase his books 1491 and 1493 at


FACT-105-20210517-CharlesMann-ACv02-ALT-DYN.mp3 Speaker 1 [00:00:02] Hello there, welcome to Factually, I’m Adam Conover. You know, when I think about what I do (which I do often) I sit there going, ‘What the hell do I do? What do you call this fucking job?’ Here’s what I think it is. What I try to do is; I read something. I experience something. I learn something that changes the way that I see the world in fundamental ways and knocks me off my chair going ‘What the fuck? Everything is different now.’ And then I try to tell it to you through comedy. That’s it. That’s the long and the short of it. That’s what ‘Adam Ruins Everything’ was. That’s what this podcast is. That’s what my standup is. That is what I do. Well, today, I would like to tell you about one of the most mind blowing things I ever learned. This revelation to me, I still marvel at when I think about. It is so enormous that it changed the way th

Recent Episodes

July 26, 2022

How can we best help animals, when it’s we humans who cause their suffering? Animal Crisis authors Alice Crary and Lori Gruen join Adam to explain how the same systems that hurt and kill animals also harm humans. They discuss the human rights abuses that happen in industrial slaughterhouses and how palm oil monocrops are devastating the world’s rainforests. They also share how we can have solidarity with animals in our daily lives. You can purchase their book at

July 19, 2022

In times of turmoil, it can be useful to take a longer view of history. Like, a LOT longer. Paleontologist and author of “The Rise and Reign of the Mammals” Stephen Brusatte joins Adam to explain how mammals took over the Earth hundreds of millions of years ago, and why we survived and achieve sentience when dinosaurs died out. Stephen goes on to discuss why taking a deep look at our history can help prepare us for the crises of the near future. You can purchase Stephen’s book at

July 13, 2022

Trans people have existed as long as, you know, people have. But the barriers to legal inclusion and equality are still higher than most people realize. “Sex is as Sex Does” author Paisley Currah joins Adam to discuss why institutions have been slow to give legal recognition to trans identities, why Republicans have shifted their attacks from bathroom policies to trans youth in sports, and why the struggle for trans equality is tied to feminism and women’s liberation. You can purchase Paisley’s book at