Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya Apocalypse Hardcover – January 16, 2011
|New from||Used from|
May's Book with Buzz
"Valiant Ambition" by Nathaniel Philbrick. George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution. See more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Well, here’s a much-needed breath of fresh, rational air. A welcome counterpoint to the seemingly endless end-of-the-world tomes, this well-documented, well-presented book (written by a pair of history professors) explores the origins of the alleged Mayan prediction that the world will end on December 21, 2012. For conspiracy buffs, the authors’ conclusions will prove decidedly disheartening. For example: they show that there is no hard evidence that the Mayan calendar has any predictive function; the Long Count calendar (which is key to the 2012 date) has a purely arbitrary start date, rendering the 2012 date meaningless; and (despite common misperception) the Mayans were not especially apocalyptic in outlook. The authors have a simple mission, 'to explain what the 2012 fuss is all about,' and they do it admirably. They don’t go as far as saying the world won’t end in December 2012, but they do say this: there is no evidence, either historical or textual, that the Mayans were predicting the end of the world in 2012 or any other year. (Booklist)
Restall and Solari's informative and accessible book offers understanding of who the Maya were and how they saw their world and, at the same time, offers an explanation into why apocalyptic scenes have always been so attractive. . . . The authors affirm that 2012 is not the end and that many positive things can come from the 2012 phenomenon, including the interest being paid to Mayan culture and to other past civilizations. (Spirituality and Health)
In their highly readable volume, Mayan scholars Restall and Solari cover . . . evidence about ancient Maya belief in a distant apocalypse, but acknowledge that strains of European apocalypticism entered Maya thinking after the conquest. The authors show through discussion of missionary art and Maya colonial writings the likely influences of European thought about the end of the world on the changing Maya conceptions of themselves and their world. They agree, however, that such hybrid strains of the apocalypse in the New World have nothing to do with the current hype about 2012. Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. (CHOICE)
Historians and Maya specialists Matthew Restall and Amara Solari have written the best book available about the notion that the ancient Maya count of days pointed to a world- transforming cataclysm to occur on the 21st of December in the year 2012. Specialists and general readers alike will find this an invaluable overview of the subject. . . . This is an excellently written, well-argued presentation that many should read—while there is still time. (Hispanic American Historical Review)
In an age of fear and trepidation about 2012 and time's end, educators who know the Maya need to step up and teach the truth beyond their academic audience. This well-argued, exceptionally accessible book combines the interdisciplinary forces of one who knows the Maya word with one who knows the Maya image. It takes readers to the historical roots of the 2012 myth and reveals how and why the idea of Maya millenarianism became linked to the celebrated Long Count. (Anthony Aveni, Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor, Colgate University)
Falsehoods are more powerful than facts. Matthew Restall and Amara Solari's ingenious reconstruction of an amazing story―how Maya mathematics morphed into modern millenarianism―tells us a lot about the Maya. Their book tells us even more about ourselves: how and why, with every emotion from solemnity to derision, we respond to prophets who claim to foresee the end of time. Witty, scholarly, insightful, and fast-paced―this is the thinking person's guide to the next pop-apocalypse. (Felipe Fernández-Armesto, University of Notre Dame)
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.
Top Customer Reviews
Matthew Restall and Amara Solari are professors at Penn State. The two were preparing a class to be taught IN 2012, focused ON 2012 and the result of those preparations is this book. Spanning only about 100 pages, the chapters are well-organized and well-structured for easy classroom note taking ("first we will be discussing these four points...point 1, etc."). This very readable book is more academic than narrative, but does an incredible job of incorporating a lot of info in only a few pages. It's not written for the academic community, but rather it's targeted at readers interested in understanding what's behind the 2012 mythos.
They refer to 2012ology...the study of all things related to the Maya "Prophecy" and the "end date" of their Long Count calendar: December, 21, 2012. As they state early in the book, the purpose of their class, and this book "is to use 2012ology as a vehicle for combining the sources and methods of art history to explain the medieval, modern, and Maya contributions to the 2012 phenomenon..." The book contains numerous drawings, photos and images that enhance their own descriptive analyses.
What started all of this bizarrely intense focus on 12/21/12? It was the fragments of a monument accidentally uncovered by construction workers at a small archaeological site known as El Tortuguero. On what is known as Stella 6 is a reference to 188.8.131.52.0, a date used in the Maya's long range time-tracking calendar, and a strange and brief mythological tale.Read more ›
For instance, like many Latin Americanists, they have a thorn in their side when it comes to Christianity, especially the Catholic Church (Christianity=evil; Indians=wonderful untouched, i.e. un-Western, civs). Thus they make some mistakes when it comes to analyzing and discussing Christianity. For instance, on p. 54 they call the birth of Christ an Immaculate Conception. No. Christ was a product of the Virgin Birth, Mary was the product of the Immaculate Conception. On p. 78, Vespucci's narrative, in which he encounters stormy seas and then finds the New World is not a tale of "apocalypse and redemption," it is Providence. (Do the authors really not know what apocalypse and redemption are?) On p. 79, the authors say that a parable in Luke 14 ("Parable of the Great Banquet") is about charity and not about souls and the last judgement. This stems from the liberal Christian view (the "Hippie Jesus" view I call it) that Jesus only taught a brand of proto-communism. No, it is outwardly about charity, but the greater implication is that it is about the Last Judgement. Restall and Solari claim Jesus was only talking about charity and the Franciscans turned it into a millennial prophecy. No, Jesus meant it that way. ("He who has ears, let him hear!")
On the Latin American history stage, the authors attempt to rehabilitate the last Aztec emperor Montezuma (pp. 86ff.).Read more ›
But as the authors explain, the ancient Mayans didn't think that the end of a cycle of their calendar would mark the end of the age. Worrying about the end of the age is a notable characteristic of Western Christian culture but wasn't a part of Mayan culture.
The book also shows that there are some later Mayan documents, written after the arrival of Franciscan missionaries--and long after the Long Cycle calendar had fallen out of use--that use apocalyptic language. Out of context appropriation of these documents has helped fuel today's 2012 mania.
My only criticism of the book is that it shows signs of having been written quickly, perhaps to take advantage of the interest in 2012. It could have used a round of editing and fact-checking. For example, the book places William Miller's predictions of the Second Coming at 1833 and 1834 rather than 1843 and 1844. There's some occasional confusion between "prophecy" (a noun) and "prophesy" (a verb). For example, in one place on p. 80, the book talks about a "principle prophesy" when it means "principal prophecy". And on p. 3, the authors use "prophesize" when they mean "prophesy".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author should leave prophesizing to others, not his field.Published 9 months ago by Brian Morrison
I cannot say that I am by any means an expert on the subject matter of "2012 and the End of the World" but it is a subject that I find fascinating and am now very much more... Read morePublished on October 10, 2012 by T.H.G.
2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya ApocalypseIf you were getting worried about the Universe crashing on December 21st, 2012, or December 23rd, 2012 (it... Read morePublished on August 31, 2012 by NH
This is the best book I've read on the subject. Very accessible and concise. That's nice. Covers well the main points of ancient evidence concerning Maya beliefs regarding the... Read morePublished on August 17, 2012 by Paul R. Sullivan
Restall and Solari have done that remarkable task: presenting a scholarly and accurate portrayal that is also written in a highly readable and easily accessible style. Read morePublished on August 17, 2012 by Edward F Fischer
It's been at least half a bundle of years since we had such a fine debunking of a cherished scholarly-cum-popular myth about the Maya (the 'rediscovery' of human sacrifice and... Read morePublished on August 16, 2012 by Kris Lane
So the world is not coming to an end after all. Phew! Solari and Restall provide a smart, entertaining, and educational explanation of the myths and truths behind Maya conceptions... Read morePublished on August 16, 2012 by Jeremy B
This book is full of very interesting research. It doesn't set out to punch the myth out of your mind but rather give you the tools to come up with your own conclusions. Read morePublished on August 16, 2012 by El Zotto