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Maya Roads: One Woman's Journey Among the People of the Rainforest

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  93 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
In Maya Roads, McConahay draws upon her three decades of traveling and living in Central America's remote landscapes to create a fascinating chronicle of the people, politics, archaeology, and species of the Central American rainforest, the cradle of Maya civilization. Captivated by the magnificence and mystery of the jungle, the author brings to life the intense beauty, t ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Chicago Review Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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Anne Ross
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful travel memoir! Interesting narrative packed with Mayan history (in a very readable format).
Jean Grant
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovers of travel memoirs
For starters, this is a most beautiful book--with its glorious cover photo and the illustrations of traditional Maya icons that preface each chapter. It's so rare to have pictures in adult books! But a book is the words, and how marvelously Mary Jo McConahay knits them together. Some of her images I will not forget--e.g. "at the nape of the neck, where the hair was gathered, each woman wore a clutch of dead birds. Those birds just hung there form the knots where the long, black hair had been pul ...more
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
After one hundred pages I quit reading Maya Roads. At my age I do not have time to spend on things that do not hold my attention.
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mary Jo McConahay brings a keen eye, sharp mind, and compassionate heart to her writing. Each chapter contains an exploration into the Maya world. To her credit, even when discussing the historical Maya, her writings are always contextualized in the modern. This is something that is often overlooked in discussing the Maya: they're still around today. She still has a tendency to romanticize some elements of traditional Maya culture, presenting issues as dualities even when she does provide fairly ...more
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Mary Jo is an accomplished journalist and filmmaker who was a witness to Central American civil wars during the seventies into the eighties. Maya Roads is a unique kind of memoir in which she tells us about maya culture, history, language and philosophy through her varied personal experiences in Guatemala and Mexico in Maya countryside. I love how she tells us those stories: she went first as a tourist, then as a participant in an archeological dig, and then a long period as a journalist, with a ...more
The 52 countries reading challenge is certainly the best thing that has been happening to my reading life in 2012: so many books or countries I would not have read about. With Maya Roads, I went to Guatemala, or I accompanied the author as she visited and revisited the country in the span of a few decades.

Maya Roads is a very enriching book, full of the passion of the author for the beauty of the landscape and the people, different and hospitable; and for its rich history and archeology. But it
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
(kindle) A very interesting account of the authors travels throughout the jungle of both Southern Mexico and Northern Guatemala, over the last 30 yrs., starting with her fascination with the Lacandon Indians in Mexico, when she was in her 20's. Besides her trips to visit the amazing Mayan ruins throughout the area, she has given us an eyewitness descriptions of some of the most important happenings in the area including war and the aftermath of massacres, and today's drug lords. Her description ...more
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: latin-america
Each chapter is sort of an essay on a particular experience or story the author pursued. She writes well and really knows her subject. I had a hard time getting a visual in my head of some of the places she described so I resorted to google image searches. I'm not sure if that's a defect of her writing or a conservative imagination who is aware of the stereotypes that could be guiding it. If I had read this as a teen or undergrad student she probably would have had a major influence on my percep ...more
Feb 25, 2012 rated it liked it
I wish I could say I loved this book. I wanted to. The author is a professional journalist who documented Central and South American wars, etc. It kind of reads like a National Geographic article...and at times I found myself lost, wondering if she had explained something and I had missed it, or perhaps she just assumed I had a previous knowledge of all of the atrocities that occurred on Guatemalan soil. I certainly learned a lot, although it also brought up so many other questions that I felt w ...more
Andy Ross
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Maya Roads is an engrossing book, one of the best works of travel journalism I have ever ready. The author spent 30 years living and working in Guatemala as a journalist and war correspondent. Her love for the land and for the people is evident in every page. Her passion for social justice infuses the entire book.
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books that I read in 2012. Nonfiction but it's like reading an extremely well written adventure story which is true, poignant, sad, informative and up lifting. The subject matter is very dear to my heart since I was very involved with Guatemalan Maya refugees and Central America and visited some of the same places.
Val Wilkerson
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books-read
Very interesting book written about a woman who did extensive traveling thru Mexico, Guatamala and Beliz over 30 years because of her interest in the Mayan People and history. This will make you want
to take a trip. Loved her vivid descriptions of the rain forests.
Dec 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
A wandering travelogue over a period of 20 years. Some parts were engrossing, others not so much. The author seemed fearless travelling alone into untravelled and sometimes dangerous areas of Mexico and Guatemala.
Dec 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was a great memoir but the presentation of historical facts is found more logically lain out elsewhere.
Trish Remley
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Very good information. Most upsetting - how US policies did not take into account the native people.
Terry Turrell
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very interesting life story. This made me want to visit the Maya pyramids in southern Mexico this year.
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written book about the author's return to Mayan areas near Chiapas, Mexico and the Peten area in Guatemala that she had visited many years before. I learned a lot and loved her story.
Vicky Whitt
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed the journey of this lady as she traveled through this remote area.
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Danny Knobler
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Feb 05, 2014
Michael Blackmer
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Aug 30, 2014
Clair Hahessy
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Jun 15, 2013
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Jun 23, 2012
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Jul 23, 2015
Linda Steiger
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Dec 28, 2016
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Mary Jo McConahay is the author of the exciting new non-fiction book on World War II in Latin America, The Tango War, The Struggle for the Hearts, Minds and Riches of Latin America During World War II, starred in reviews from Publishers' Weekly and Kirkus. She is author of Ricochet, Two Women War Reporters and a Friendship under Fire, and Maya Roads, One Woman's Journey among the People of the Rai ...more