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The Anasazi Guide: Second Edition
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2010
My wife and I used this guide to prep for a week at Mesa Verde hoping for a brief overview of ancient puebloan roots and culture plus some basic archeological info related to Mesa Verde. It definitely fulfilled this role, allowing us to get more enjoyment from our visit. For more depth, breadth, and references, you'll want to target more "scholarly" works. We've read several of these, which generally confirmed the condensed information provided by Skopec's guide.
The text is laced with an abundance of editing errors, which are a bit of a distraction. Never-the-less it provided an excellent and quick background for our Mesa Verde visit and we have recommended it to others. We'll take it along again for future Four Corners tours.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2011
The Anasazi Guide is an overview of the world of the Anasazi, the native Americans who established a great civilization in the Southwest only to have their society collapse by 1300 A.D. Anasazi architectural and engineering achievements, their road system, their rock art, and their weapons are all part of this overview. About half of the book is devoted to a detailed description and visitor information for the most important Anasazi sites which are open to the public.

Most readers are understandably reluctant to buy a self-published book. And in fact this book does have a few too many typos and unnecessary repetitions. But the outstanding contents more than make up the difference. I have read more than a dozen books on the Anasazi and Four Corners tourist sites. And I would rank this book number one. It is supposedly an introduction, but it is the book which best describes everyday life in the Anasazi communities. It is the one which best describes the complex factors which led to the total collapse of this civilization. And it refreshingly dispenses with the reluctance of many authors to admit that there was an Anasazi civil war going in the 12th century. Locations such as Cutthroat Castle Colorado were very realistically named.

Professor Skopec seems to have a keen understanding of which tourist sites are of major archeological significance of which should be considered to be of more casual interest. I was especially impressed with his discussion of the Salmon Ruins New Mexico, which receive only brief mention in most guidebooks. And his evidence for Aztec Ruins National Monument New Mexico also being considered a major site deserves serious consideration.

Don't be put off by the cover. This book is really worthwhile.
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