As a person who has traveled in places where the modern Maya live--Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico--and who has taken the trouble to get to know what the history and culture of these admirable people is really like, I have always been appalled at the number of books that claim to be about "Maya shamanism," but are really just New Age claptrap. While it is true that MAYA COSMOS does not read like a mass-market paperback, it is one of the most heartfelt, well-researched, and stunning books on the Maya that I have ever read. If you want the REAL story on who the Maya are and how their spiritual and cultural beliefs have evolved over the last 5,000 years, this is the book for you. Yes, there is some scientific data and research here, but I would rather a thousand times read that than the silly cultural misinformation written by dozens of New Age authors who project their own interpretations onto the art and the cities without even being able to read the very texts they are claiming to understand. The late Linda Schele was one of the five major figures who was responsible for cracking the code of the Maya language. As an art historian, she was well versed in the complex and fascinating symbolism of Maya culture. David Freidel has been a brilliant Maya archaeologist for over 25 years, and first became involved with the culture because of his interest in shamanism. Joy Parker, who, by the way, was the ghost-co-author of A FOREST OF KINGS (check out the Acknowledgements and the Forward where her work is credited) has spent over a dozen years working with the modern Maya (most recently, as an editor of Maya shaman Martin Prechtel's SECRETS OF THE TALKING JAGUAR and LONG LIFE, HONEY IN THE HEART) and with other indigenous cultures such as the North Native Americans (check out her book WOMAN WHO GLOWS IN THE DARK) and African cultures, so she brings a special personal interest and flair to this project. The first-person stories told in this book are priceless. I spent as many pleasurable hours reading it as I did the authors' first effort A FOREST OF KINGS. If you truly want to learn about the history of the Maya, the tragedy of the Spanish conquest, and how the modern Maya find the strength to endure, this is the book for you.