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The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History Hardcover – October 15, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; First Edition edition (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585427667
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585427666
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,529,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Anthropologist Jenkins (Galactic Alignment) has been investigating Mayan culture since 1985, helping unveil the Mayan calendar system that predicts a once-in-26,000-years "astronomical alignment"-the solstice sun and the Milky Way with the galactic center-occurring on December 12, 2012, a date that's gained an apocalyptic reputation in the popular consciousness. Jenkins believes that the Mayans, just like their Greek, Indian, Babylonian, and Egyptian contemporaries, have much to teach us, but nothing about a global cataclysm. Applying the concepts of Mayan cyclical cosmology-in particular, a transformation-and-renewal creation myth not unlike other religions'-he suggests that 2012 "basically represents a shift from one World Age to the next" occurring over decades, not hours: "The world is in a crisis. Systems need to be transformed and spiritually centered social activism is called for." He believes that the Indian idea of an "indigenous mind" offers an alternative to modern materialism, "oriented more to... maintaining balance with a sustainable value system." He also finds hopeful signs in farming, beer brewing, energy innovation, and health-food communities, as well as the popularity of meditation and other ways of freeing oneself from "the tangled knot of illusion." This introduction to Mayan culture, from the scientist who uncovered much of it, replaces silly disaster scenarios with something both truthful and provocative.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"By far the best and most authoritative guide to the 2012 phenomenon. I doubt it will be followed by anything better."
-Richard Smoley, Quest magazine

"One of the most popular author in the 2012 category, [John Major Jenkins] helped usher in this craze."
-Lisa Miller, Newsweek

"As much as Jenkins has made a place for himself in the 2012 discussion through his independent research on the Maya and precession, he has made an even greater impact by applying academic rigor to the theories of his contemporaries and exposing...their inconsistencies with established Mayanist scholarship."
-Benjamin Anastas, The New York Times Magazine

"The most global and erudite voice of a swelling chorus of Galactic Center theorists. By framing the subject in the context of the Primordial Tradition, he raises it to a new level of seriousness and of reassurance."
-Joscelyn Godwin, Colgate University

"A fascinating journey through the history of the ancient Maya...Combining impeccable scholarship with incisive critical intellect, the author dispels the misconceptions and sensational speculations."
-Stanislav Grof, M.D., author of Psychology of the Future

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

I am an independent researcher devoted to reconstructing ancient Mayan cosmology and philosophy. Since 1986, I've traveled to Mexico and Central America many times. In 1990 I helped build a school in San Pedro, near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. In 1994 I delivered relief supplies to a Quich' Maya community in the Western highlands of Guatemala. Since beginning my work with the Maya, I've authored dozens of articles and many books.

I also facilitated the translation of The Key to the Kalevala by Pekka Ervast, editing and writing the introduction for it. This classic text on Finnish mythology was published with Blue Dolphin Publishers in 1999. In 1995 I was appointed literary executor for Eino Friberg, Finnish-American poet and translator of The Kalevala, the national epic of the Finnish people.

As a visiting scholar, I've taught classes at The Institute of Maya Studies in Miami, The Maya Calendar Congress in Mexico, The Esalen Institute, Naropa University and many other venues both nationally and abroad. I wrote the preface to Geoff Stray's book Beyond 2012, and have been interviewed on numerous radio and television shows, including the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and the recent documenary 2012: The Odyssey. Currently working on 2012 documentaries with Mystic Fire Video and Vision Quest Productions.

Customer Reviews

I would highly recommend this book, especially if you have any interest in 2012.
Kathy Dannel Vitcak
In fact, much of the book is spent with Jenkins disagreeing with just about everyone else about what 2012 meant to the Maya and what it means to us.
Mr. Jenkins then tackles just about every new-age and sensationalist misunderstanding currently circulating in the 2012 world.
Lee & Steven Hager

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Lee & Steven Hager on September 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Several years ago, I had the privilege of studying for several semesters with Maya scholar Matt Looper. As a result of class discussions on 2012, I never took the rants of new-age hucksters seriously. I was very pleased to read Mr. Jenkins' clear-headed scholarly discussion of the subject and very happy to see that Matt Looper was referenced in the material. There are actually several books contained in this volume. A historical overview of the culture and a history of early explorers and scholars lay the foundation for discussions of the long count calendar system. Mr. Jenkins then tackles just about every new-age and sensationalist misunderstanding currently circulating in the 2012 world. His explanations and rebuttals of erroneous information get a little tedious at times, but all-in-all, most of it is necessary if the air is to be cleared on this subject.

As Mr. Jenkins so clearly points out, "Many of the most significant breakthroughs continue to be made by independent outside-the-field thinkers" who are willing to look at ancient cultures without preconceived notions. Sadly, many scholars cling to the mistaken view that these cultures lack the sophisticated thinking of modern man. As a result, they are looked upon as child-like and pre-rational rather than the trans-rational beings they actually are. Their mythology is dismissed because scientists do not understand the language of symbols. Happily, Mr. Jenkins is not one of those scholars, and he gives Maya culture the respect it deserves.

As a proponent of the perennial philosophy and experiential gnosis, I was thrilled to see that Mr. Jenkins included these subjects in the second part of the book.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Ann Lee VINE VOICE on September 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm a history buff, but when it comes to science--not so much. One of the things I liked best about this book is that the author "lured me in" with history that read like the stuff of novels. I found myself wanting to know more about the science of it all, too. I enjoyed learning about the specific people who helped create the current world view of these lost civilizations. The documentation provided, the photographs/illustrations, and the time line at the end of the book were interesting and helpful.

As a child I was told about the secret prophecies of Fatima, and that the world would likely end in 2000. Since the world survived the turn of the century, I've taken the gloom and doom surrounding 2012 with a grain of salt. I found Mr. Jenkins' book to be reassuring, that while the world will always face dangers, the end is not necessarily near.

With so much "new age" propaganda from so many sources, I appreciate having more insight into the facts. After reading the book, I feel as though I've had a college course on the subject. I liken the experience of reading this book to running "2012" through, to sift the wheat from the chaff.

What I did not expect was the call for a personal involvement at the close of the book. In the end, what seems to be asked of us is what mankind SHOULD have been doing all along. But it's still good to be reminded.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By MysticJaguar VINE VOICE on August 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
John Major Jenkins, or JMJ as his moniker goes, has written an exhaustive tome on all things 2012. When I think about other books on the subject few are as accessible or thorough as this one. Many folks hawking 2012 wares are in it for the personality rush or have little meaningful to say. (I recall Pinchbecks book on 2012 was a major dissapointment and a bummer.) But JMJ is not toting this to gather groupies around him at Burning Man nor to write tons of fluff like others. Here is a serious researcher who takes a view at so many angles of 2012. You get views of the Mayan calendarics behind the date, how this is being viewed by and is affecting our society, and other impacts that really tell a complete story. So for just being a wide ranging book that has lots of good stuff to say this book gets the Wow.

Now for the Huh? from the review title. There is so much detail here that JMJ slogs through intricate details of the major players in the 2012 world. Who said what, and who wrote what, down to the play by play, email to email posting. In the middle of some parts of the book you have to slog through thinking 'John, that's nice, but I did not need to know the minutiae of why you think your are right and Calleman or others are not right'. Up to a certain point I don't care about the mini details. Much of this could have been left out. But even with carrying these blemishes I can see how the topic would not be complete without it.

Finally onto the Beware! There are alot of folks and movies who are hyping the end of the world at 2012 with the tsunamis coming over the Himalayas and all that. The largest dangers we face around this time are not from a rocking and rolling planet but from the ego, the shadow, as depicted by a character from the Maya named Seven Macaw.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Konrad Baumeister VINE VOICE on September 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The 2012 Story, written by a long-time scholar and writer on topics Maya and 2012, is an effort to present a definitive history of research done to date regarding the specific date of the ending of the Mayan time cycle, as well as his own interpretation of its ultimate meaning both from the Mayan standpoint and ours as a world society. Its success is in this reviewer's opinion somewhat spotty.

The book is broken down into two parts. Part I concerns an update of scholarship of all types done on the Mayan culture since more or less the arrival of the Spaniards and up to the present day, and this is presented in a sober, dry, and seemingly objective way. The author is at pains to give credit to a few parties where he feels it is due, and certainly feels free to dole out criticism where he thinks that appropriate, as evidently he does in numerous cases. It is not long before we are engulfed in some technical discussion through explication of the sacred Maya Long Count calendar regarding how the specific date of December 21, 2012 has been arrived at; we continually, again and again, revisit the author's dealing with competing or other lecturers, writers, and researchers who arrive at different dates through incorrectly accounting for leap years and sometimes just simply through sloppiness. His frustration in not having his own calculations universally accepted by other writers, even when most painstakingly explained, is palpable; and conversely, his ire when his calculations and conclusions in fact are accepted, and republished without due credit, also leaps right off the page.
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