Jarring juxtapositions like this one are among the more compelling features of Mann's narrative. Another, more jarring (and fascinating) example of this trope occurs in Mann's discussion of Asian migration to colonial Mexico, which apparently was quite substantial in the seventeenth century. Spanish treasure ships had begun regular voyages across the Pacific in 1565, stopping in Manila to exchange Mexican and Bolivian silver for Chinese silk and porcelain. Apparently, many of these vessels brought Asian immigrants back with them to Latin America. The 100,000 or so trans-Pacific travelers included Japanese emigrants who had been stranded in China or the Philippines when the Tokugawa regime sealed the home islands' borders. A few of these were samurai whom the viceroy allowed to retain their katanas and employed in Mexico's colonial militia. I am fairly certain I made the previous sentence up. (Hastily checks book.) Nope, there it is on page 324. Mann cites a recent article by Edward Slack, who identifies the countries of origin of colonial Mexico's chino population (China, the Philippines, Japan, India), describes their professions, and observes that Asians were the only non-whites in Mexico licensed to carry weapons and serve in the colony's militia. (See Edward R. Slack, Jr., "The Chinos in New Spain: A Corrective Lens for a Distorted Image," Journal of World History 20 [Winter 2009], 35-67.) Professor Slack does not offer suggestions for how one might turn this fascinating story into a film plot, but such a movie script (perhaps a mashup of Yojimbo and Treasure of the Sierra Madre) almost writes itself.
* The English word "bounce," per the Oxford English Dictionary, existed but was not used to describe the bouncing of a ball until the seventeenth century.