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Tima among the Maya: Travels in Beliza, Guatemala and Mexico Paperback – 18 Aug 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press; 1st Grove Press Ed edition (18 Aug. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802137288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802137289
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 3 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 961,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A friend lent this book to me whilst I was travelling the Maya trail. I enjoyed it so much I decided to buy it once back in England.
The story follows the travels of Ronald Wright starting in Belize, then taking a circular route through the Yucatan and Chiapas areas of Mexico, and Guatamala.
Along the way, the author describes the people he meets, the local customs, and the often turbulent history. There is plenty of detail about the Mayan buildings and their complex constructions of calenders and measures of time.
A most absorbing book.
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Format: Paperback
I do not give many Reviews but this book is worthy of it and has been one of the books I've most recommended to any traveler to Central America. Ronald wright is a talented author with a knack of helping one to see the big Picture! What has taken place since the time of the conquest? how did the Spanish invasion change the course of history; What really happened out there and how does it still influence recent Politics today. And for anyone like me with a keen interest in the Maya this Book also covers with great insight the lives of the Maya, their cosmology, the influence of Catholicism and how it has been incorporated into the Mayan traditions whilst giving detailed information about each of the Mayan ruins that can still be visited today..... Ronald Wright traveled to Guatemala during the 80's towards the end of the upheaval that left many thousands dead and this book makes a great travel story as you find yourself following parts of the same trail in which he took leaving you with an enriched experience of your Central American Travels.........
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Format: Hardcover
There are two things that frustrate me about this book. One is that Ronald Wright has apparently never heard the adage 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. There are pages of description of Maya cities and constructions, but (in my edition anyway) none of the pictures and diagrams which would have made it all far easier to relate to. The other is that, with his passionate empathy for the sufferings undergone by Native American peoples, he seems blithely unaware of the mote in his own eye as a member of the British ruling class. 'You're only interested in the Indians', a left-wing Guatamalen intellectual tells him - and with truth.

The book this most reminds me of is Bruce Chatwin's Songlines, travelogue being mixed with an attempt at a much larger theme: the history and fate of the Maya, one of the most advanced peoples of the Americas whose civilisation mysteriously imploded even before the Conquistadors arrived. Compared with Songlines, the plus side is that the two elements are much better integrated. The minus is that neither of them is really strong enough. Truthfully, his journeys are fairly uneventful; whilst of the Maya, however much you extol them, little is known and there is therefore little to say. The most interesting aspect is the portrayal of modern day Latin America - a subject on which I can never read any book without congratulating myself that I don't live there.

Still, you'll be relieved to hear that the world is not going to end on 21.12.12: that is a misconception based on a misunderstanding of the Mayan calendar. Okay, if I'm wrong come back and tell me on the 22nd...
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Format: Paperback
Very interesting read
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 14 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 2 Oct. 2001
By Stephen McHenry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A travel book, with culture and policitcs woven in, but not too heavily. Geography, environment, and a collection of characters encountered along the way, a fascinating book on several levels. Also in the fabric of the book is a discussion of how the Mayans keep time, what happened to them as a culture and people, as well as what their future might be. But is it all done with excellent writing, none of it too academic or dry, all interesting, with great writing artistry. A very good book. Simple and powerful. A good read if you have any interest in this area of the world or the Mayans.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much More than a Travelogue 29 Jun. 2002
By doomsdayer520 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
At first this book appears to be merely a travelogue of Wright's journeys through the Maya areas of Mexico and Central America. Sure, he gives us the goods on the ancient Maya ruins and archeological treasures, plus a lot of great historical coverage, but these turn out to be the background of a much larger narrative. Instead, Wright spends the bulk of his time visiting with the local people, both modern Mayas and non-Mayas who inhabit these regions today. Therefore we get an excellent sociological study on these peoples. I was surprised to learn of the large numbers of Maya that still exist, not just as an ancient fringe religious group, but as a sizeable portion of the populations of Guatemala, Belize, and Southern Mexico. Unfortunately these people still deal with the fallout of nearly 500 years of oppression, and continuing discrimination today. Their resulting hardships are a major focus of the book. Wright also has a flair for picking out offbeat and enjoyable characters among the people he meets, like the nearly-Rasta mestizos of Belize and a variety of befuddled and naïve traveling companions. Wright could stand to be a little less biased at times, especially in the portion of the book that deals with Guatemala. Wright gets really carried away in describing this dreary nation as a hopeless hellhole. This characterization is probably not too far from reality, but impartiality is missing at times in this book. (Note that this was written back in the mid-80's, though it's doubtful if much has changed since then). Also, pictures of the many fascinating areas Wright visited would be a nice addition to this book. You have to rely on Wright's descriptions instead, although he does a pretty good job. Ultimately, this book is less a standard travelogue than an entertaining and very enlightening sociological study on a people who are still going strong even though their culture "collapsed" (in Western eyes) centuries and centuries ago.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential guide for Maya lands - 3 Mar. 2006
By Katherine H. O'neil - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Classic, essential, practical. Don't leave home for Maya lands without it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time among the Maya 11 Oct. 2004
By Robin Schmidt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Ronald Wright takes us to Belize, Guatemala and the Yucatan, visiting various archeological sites and people along the way. This is a great travelogue with lots of history included. It is well researched including a glossary, notes, bibliography and index for the reader who wants to delve deeper. Good reading if you're planning on going to this part of the world.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful travel in a troubled region 5 Feb. 2012
By Neil Scott Mcnutt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Time among the Maya, Ronald Wright
This is a charming travelogue, particularly if you have experienced travel to some of the Maya Indian sites. Ronald Wright has given us an insight that could only be possible from someone who has spent considerable time and research into the politics and plight of the Maya people. There are some helpful maps for orientation. The writing is like a daily journal, which is charming in its observations and the attempts at a phonetic impression of the speech of the various populations that he encounters in his journey. There are references to some of the masterworks of more early explorers, such as John L. Stephens, with excellent drawings by Catherwood (Dover Publications), and the helpful translation of Popol Vuh by Dennis Tedlock. Ronald Wright gives us "food for thought" about the terrible things that have occurred in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico, as various political factions have battled for control.
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