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I've recently been on an 18-day 'Mysteries of the Maya' holiday covering the eastern part of Mexico/western part of Central America and this is one of the books I bought beforehand in an attempt to get up to speed on all things 'Maya'.

I found this book to be interesting and quite well-detailed with a good number of maps/illustrations and, especially, photos to support the text.

The main caveat is that this book is not entirely devoted to the Mayan civilisation, something which may be an important factor for you.

*** Also, you should note that there is a FAR more comprehensive book by the same author which, MOST IMPORTANTLY, repeats in it's entirety the content of this book before continuing with a massive amount of content afterwards !

Aside from content, the difference is that this 'shorter' book is in a larger format and paperback as opposed to smaller hardback for the second.

So, if subject coverage is your main desire you should consider this FAR more expansive book :

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Aztec and Maya: The Definitive Chronicle of the Ancient Peoples of Mexico and Central America - Including the ... ... Photographs, Paintings, Artefacts and Maps

[In my review of that other book I've included a photo of the contents page, which also shows where it continues with new content after what this book provides and some example pages....]

Both books serve as a very useful insight and may well be enough for you, BUT if you want a MUCH more substantial (and decidedly 'posher') book which is entirely Maya-devoted and hence includes sections about the modern day Mayans for example you should consider this one :

Maya

The Amazon product webpage includes a 'Look inside' feature so you can see the contents pages....

What none of these books is likely to be useful for is taking with you 'on tour' - they are not really travel 'orientated' or compatible ! For that I bought/took 2 'travel' books with me, both of which I've reviewed - the former is by far my preferred book and it's size belies the quality of the content, which in a lot of ways puts this and the other 'heavyweights' on a lower footing !!!

Knopf Guide: Route of the Mayas: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador (Knopf Guides)

and

Moon Maya 2012: A Guide to Celebrations in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize & Honduras (Moon Maya: A Guide to Celebrations in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize & Honduras) (Moon Handbooks)
Moon Maya 2012: A Guide to Celebrations in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize & Honduras (Moon Maya: A Guide to Celebrations in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize & Honduras) [ MOON MAYA 2012: A GUIDE TO CELEBRATIONS IN MEXICO, GUATEMALA, BELIZE & HONDURAS (MOON MAYA: A ...

This book is a good 'general' information book since it doesn't just cover the Maya civilisation - something which might be important either way if you don't want 'superfluous' content or conversely read about the Mayans in isolation to the other civilisations which are significant to the Maya history and that region in general.

Unless the larger size/paperback format and potentially lower price are important to you, learn from my 'mistake' and get the 'Illustrated Encyclopaedia' "edition" by the same author as it omits no content from this book and adds some !
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on 7 March 2013
I used Phillips' book extensively in a piece of coursework I did, and I have to say it's been very helpful. The book is accessible to lay readers due to Phillips' providing of explanation and elaboration, and makes an interesting read for anyone with a taste for history.
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on 5 February 2016
This was purchased for my grandson. He has found very useful, in a general sense, and the book has encouraged him to continue his Mayan studies, in greater depth. A well produced work, value for money.
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on 21 February 2013
this is a good introductory book on these civilizations of mesoamerica which acts as a sprininggboard to more in depth read
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on 21 August 2016
Great books
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