As an anthropologist and journalist, Black has conducted research into 2012 millenarianism for several years. He consequently offers a much broader and clearer picture than other books on the subject.
In their haste to jump onto the 2012 bandwagon, most authors seem to have forgotten that the Maya are a real people, often living in as violently precarious circumstances as their ancient ancestors. In response to this, Will Black demolishes many New Age fantasies about the date and the Maya before examining the devastating cocaine wars blighting Central America and beyond. This brings the focus sharply onto modern global realities in a way that no other 2012 writer has managed to do.
The hedonistic world of many westerners who have become interested in 2012 is compared and contrasted with the lives of both ancient and modern Maya. The extraordinary and shadowy world of shamans is contrasted with that of New Age seekers. Useful information about key visionary substances used by both traditional shamans and contemporary Westerners is offered.
As well as illuminating Mayan realities, Black puts 2012 millenarianism in context by giving a clear and often humorous account of key apocalyptic religions, ranging from Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, the Hopi and Aztecs as well as smaller cults existing over the last few thousand years.