13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 5 December 2000
This is an excellent book about the Maya. It brings you right up to date with current knowledge and thinking, It balances archealogical knowledge with the de-cyphering by the epigraphers of the writtfrances@en history. I have travelled widely in this area, visited most of the major sites and read many books on the area, I can say this is the best and most thorough book I have read on the Maya. I love the way the author draws together the different sources and melds them together into this fasinating and scholarly work, at the same time it is highly readable book.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2004
I went to Meso-America last November and visited Tikal, Chichen-Itza and Tulum. I came back wanting to know more about the Maya and bought this book. David Drew is very clear and presents a complex subject very well. From the best known archaelogical sites to the ones off the beaten track, he explains how they fit and their importance in Maya history. Also very interesting are the chapters on "breaking the code" of Maya hieroglyphs, the calendrics and numbers, as well as the influence of the Spanish conquistadores. After reading this book, I just want to go back to the region, see sites I didn't see before, as well as re-visiting places I went to with a new insight.
on 20 October 2015
As some of you may or may not know, I'm a complete history geek. To the extent that I'm still in the process of debating a history degree as a backup to my current career. Most periods of history have been done to death for me, it's not that they aren't fascinating, they are. It's just that I've covered it so much, mostly at school, that I'm like....I need something new to discover! The Maya are one such area that I have yet to learn about, so I was excited to start reading the book. I'm definitely the type of person who reads history textbooks for fun, so reading a history book is no problem for me!
There's a hell of a lot of information in this book, and with the small type....I can see why it's maybe daunting for people. But for all the information contained in the book...it's definitely worth a read and is actually easier to read than you might expect. I actually found the writing, and the way the information was laid out to be compelling, which is what kept me interested and reading through to the end, but that might be because as previously stated...history nerd.
Don't get me wrong, some parts where a little convoluted, mostly histories, but still....an incredibly interesting read. It covers pretty much everything, from what I can tell. We start out with the discovery of the Maya and then go from there. I rather enjoyed reading the different takes on the painstaking translations and how they where wrong or misconstrued. From there you go through all the stages of the Maya civilisation through to its demise, like I said, there's a tonne of information in it if you're willing to take the time to get stuck in!
There where illustrations included that made a nice break in all the text, while you had a good look at them. I'd love to say that my interest had been taken care of completely, but I'm still fascinated with the Maya and eager to learn more!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2002
This book is wonderful: it's a pretty detailed overview of Maya history, with a wonderful section dedicated to the study of Maya hieroglyphs, and of the "history of Maya history", that is the chronicles of explorers and scholars who dedicated their lives to the study of this amazing civilization.