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Incidents of travel in Yucatan

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Harper & brothers (1847)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00085UQYW
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Format: Paperback
This is a facsinating book about John Loyd Stevens exploration of the ancient Mayan cities hidden in the jungle of the Yucatan. I found it very readable, especially when you consider it was written 100 years ago. Catherwood's engravings of the ruins are an excellent glimps of what these ancient treasures looked liked at time of discovery. I also recomend: "A Tourist in the Yucatan" a mystery/thriller set in modern day Yucatan.
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By A Customer on 6 Dec. 1996
Format: Paperback
This series of books has been in print for over 150 years! If that doesn't impress you, then Frederick Catherwood's drawings will. The writing is a little archaic by today's standards, but the tale is important history.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9707b414) out of 5 stars 19 reviews
78 of 81 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97225078) out of 5 stars Stephens, "et al..." a disappointment 14 Dec. 2001
By Mark Robertson - Published on
Format: Paperback
(Is there a way to give it no stars?)
A great disappointment to fans of Stephens and Catherwood. If you're looking for the real thing - this isn't it.
More properly titled:
"Karl Akerman's Unfortunate Abridgment of Stephens' and Catherwood's Incidents of Travel in Yucatan," this 286 page compilation is abridged, elided, and largely meaningless for anyone wishing to get the look and feel of the 600 pages of the two original volumes brilliantly written and illustrated by John Lloyd Stephens And Frederick Catherwood.
This book barely resembles the two original books, as it's missing a tremendous amount of historically styled and interesting text - and around 100 of Catherwood's exquisite drawings.
Go hunt down the Dover two volume edition - gladly pay the price - and settle in for a stunning read that hasn't been repurposed as an overview for the modern casual traveler to the Yucatan.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x972256cc) out of 5 stars Gutted by Ackerman 4 May 2005
By Timothy Ritter - Published on
Format: Paperback
Now here's a publishing phenomenon. Stephens publishes his first book on the Maya and it is hailed by Edgar Allen Poe, among others, as "perhaps the most interesting book of travel ever published". His second book on the Maya, the one for sale on this page, was called "better than its brother" by William Hickling Prescott. 153 years slip by, and a new edition of "Incidents of Travel in Yucatan" is published by none other than Smithsonian Books.

I made the mistake of assuming the new edition, coming from Smithsonian Books, would be of high quality. How wrong I was.

Mr. Ackerman, in his own words, has reduced the text of this classic "by two thirds, but aims to preserve the spirit and essence of the original work". That's right, this "editor" cuts out 67% of one of the greatest works of literature in history, and has the impudence and effrontery to say he aims to preserve the book's spirit and essence. Then, taking the concept of hubris to a new level, he puts his name on the cover under that of the author--as though he had actually added something.

He has added nothing, only subtracted. Besides the 67% of the text, he also removed the name of Frederick Catherwood, who did the marvelous drawings, from the cover.

In the introduction, there is not the slightest hint of shame for the gut job, which he describes: "I have eliminated Stephens' description of the journeys to and from the region...I have tightened Stephens' prose, eliminated the detailed measurements of buildings and mounds, and excised long historical digressions and anecdotes...I have not used ellipses to indicate compression..."

With all the eliminations and excisions and hackings, Ackerman elects to leave in place misspellings because they "reveal Stephens' character and time". Let me get this straight. Historical digressions and anecdotes, admired by the likes of Poe and Prescott, must be cut. But misspellings must be preserved to reveal character and time? What sort of a wacky caricature of a scholar did the Smithsonian Scholarly Book Fund give a grant to?

I have tried to fathom why a person with an interest in archaeology and history and literature would maim a book in this fashion, but I'm at a loss. One would expect this sort of thing if Spielberg were making a biopic about Stephens. Then, the cuts would be necessary to fit the story into a 90-minute slot while keeping enough space for a sassy love interest and a talking jaguar. But this is a fantastic book that eight generations of readers from around the world have loved in its entirety.

Where is the Dover edition?
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9726ff48) out of 5 stars Dover Edition Much Better 29 May 2006
By Ruffstone - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The two volume Dover edition is much much better. This is watered down, and doesn't contain the important details that make it so interesting. It has very few of the illustrations found in the two volume set. This was a big let down. I bought this thinking it was similar to the Dover addition which a friend of mine owned.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97276504) out of 5 stars Adventure Travel at its Zenith 25 Oct. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Stephens and Catherwood were the Yucatán's first North American tourists back when the ruins of the Maya cities were still lost to the jungle. The narrative is engrossing especially if you can put yourself in their 19th century shoes. Surprisingly, there are still ruins to be discovered today in the jungles of the same peninsula that hosts Cancún. We recently followed Stephens' and Catherwood's trail to the ruins of Uxmal and Chichen Itzá using a new guidebook called Adventure Guide to the Yucatán by Bruce & June Conord. Though they don't actually lay out the identical route, they do mention overlapping parts of it and they treat the Maya ruins and civilization with the same awe that Stephens did. We carried both books and the Adventure Guide got us to places where Stephens had been that aren't even on the map. What a blast to read this book and actually stand in Stephens' footprints in the Yucatán. Incidents of Travel is an old fashioned book that has stood the test of time.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9744109c) out of 5 stars Excellent and amazing 13 Mar. 2001
By Bill Pullman - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you have ever been or are planning a trip to the ruin sites of the Yucatan this is a must read book! written over 150 years ago it still holds up today. It is a fascinating look at the early exploration of the Ancient Mayan cities lost to the jungle. Reading this book will make your trip much more enjoyable and educational.
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