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The World of the Ancient Maya

3.03  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  14 reviews
In this second edition, author John S. Henderson has revised his introduction to Maya culture and added photographs and drawings. He explores the Mayan cultural tradition from the earliest traces of settlement throogh the period of Spanish conquest in the 16th century. The ancient Mayas are understood to have been the only fully-literate precolumbian people in the Americas ...more
Hardcover, 329 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by Cornell University Press (first published December 12th 1981)
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Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a complex and nuanced history on an academic level. If you want a thumbnail sketch or just a survey of Mayan history read something else. This book is dry and dense and packed with settlement info that contrasts the regions and time periods throughout Mayan world. It moves quick most of the time but also makes extremely detailed explanations that might not interest you. But for me, it was awesome. I did have to read re-read quite a bit though.
Todd Martin
Nov 04, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
“The World of the Ancient Maya” is an overview of the diversity and scope of the Mayan civilization, but has the fatal flaw that it is merely a dry collection of facts and has no connecting narrative. You’d think it might be difficult to write a mind-numbingly boring book about a people whose priests used to cut their sacrificial victims chests open and tear out the beating heart as an offering to their gods, but Henderson has done just that.
Michael Tarpinian
Hated it. Perhaps it is impossible to tell a story based on archeology alone. This was a mass of disjointed information.
Nick Tredennick
Jun 30, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Too dry, not enough of the culture and society. Mostly dry facts about settlements.
I am lucky enough to have a first edition printing of this book (paperback form) from 1981 which I purchased for a mere .25 cents at a used book sale. This book is written in academic form, with plenty of 'white space' for one to make notes along the way. It is densely informative and can be a bit dry (as most academic books are in my opinion) but it is still interesting nonetheless.
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, history
As a review of our archeological and an anthropological knowledge of the ancient Maya, it serves more to highlight the lack of information that we have and the historical nuance of complex societies rather than present definitive research, which I found refreshingly honest. The discussion was much more focused on population, pottery styles, evidence of trade, and other hard evidence as opposed to broad strokes on culture and lifestyle.

As an audiobook Ms. May does a crisp and understandable readi
Jeff Rudisel
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, history
Very interesting, but not very engrossing.
Reads a bit like a huge list of facts.
It's hard to make a book truly fascinating without some engrossing personal narrative, but the fragmentary nature and almost complete dearth of documentation due to the destruction of almost all Mayan books by the European conquerors, makes personal narrative of any particular Mayans very difficult to come by.
Still, glad that I read it and gained some good knowledge of the civilization and area and period.
Apr 15, 2014 rated it liked it
I prefer my history books to read more like stories than this. This is pretty dry and wanders all over the place getting to you to how experts KNOW everything. Honestly I don't care how they know it, just tell me what's up.
Aug 10, 2010 rated it liked it
It's a bit dated, but otherwise informative.
Sometimes long and dry, but always kept my interest.
I also learned a lot about the Maya that I did not know.
Mar 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
May 30, 2009 rated it liked it
This textbook is rather dry but extremely informative.
Dan G
Mar 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
I found this discussion less stimulating than many others (Coe, Sharer).
May 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Text book information not a fun read but good info.
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