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The End of Time: The Maya Mystery of 2012 Paperback – October 15, 2009

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0870819612 ISBN-10: 0870819615 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"[Aveni] writes with a mastery and polish that is wonderfully accessible."
—The New York Times Book Review

"Anthony Aveni is a passionate scholar and a vivid, engaging writer. . . .He is a polymath, too, with as astounding range of interests and knowledge. Like Jared Diamond, Aveni is a brilliant synthesizer, and a delightful one."
—Oliver Sacks

"Anthony Aveni delivers the goods on 2012. This isn't really a book about the Maya. It's about us. Read it now while there's still time."
—Dr. E.C. Krupp, Director, Griffith Observatory

" A concise and authoritative overview, providint a valuable introduction for non-exoerts. . . . The writing style is engaging and clear, and the author never talks down to the reader. Summing up: Highly recommended."
—Choice Magazine

About the Author

Anthony Aveni is the Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy, Anthropology, and Native American Studies at Colgate University. He has researched and written about Maya astronomy for more than four decades. He was named a U.S. National Professor of the Year and has been awarded the H. B. Nicholson Medal for Excellence in Research in Mesoamerican Studies by Harvard’s Peabody Museum.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Colorado; 1 edition (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870819615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870819612
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,033,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By B. M Sullivan on July 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was looking forward to this book just because of the sheer volume of psuedoscience and misinformation out there. Thankfully this book cuts through most of the fluff out there and sets the record straight in a relatively short volume. That being said, I was expecting much more in the way of actual analysis of the Mayan culture.

Aveni is clear and articulate throughout, but I see this book taking a wrong turn in two ways. First, he spends a lot of time discussing end of time, apocalypse, etc myths. This is great background information; a consistency throughout human history of what is essentially human paranoia. As if the human condition has some part in our need to seek doom and gloom in our lives. While this is important to establishing that 2012 paranoia is just another made up event for people to spread fear, it tends to be the driving theme in the novel. From an expert in Mayan astronomy, I would have expected more analysis of the Maya and less of overall human condition themes.

Second, there's an inherent assumption that readers of this book have taken a look at other 2012 writers. The nitty gritty analysis section tended to be more of a refutation of other authors' work. While this is important to show how other authors are liberally interpreting the data, it doesn't do me much good when I haven't been initiated into the world of 2012 paranoia.

Regardless of my nitpickings, I would recommend this book for anyone wanting some factual and social context regarding 2012. However, I really felt like this book is the cliff's notes or layman's version of a much greater work waiting to be written. While reading I really found myself wanting more information, more data, so that I could draw the same conclusions that Aveni does.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Avery on March 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some marketing geniuses at the publishing house have taken the most academically rigorous and open-minded exposition of 2012 and given it the dull title "The End of Time" that is sure to make it blend in perfectly with cash-ins and spinoffs and be thrown into the remainders pile. This book is really about 2012 as a cultural phenomenon, why it's caught on so quickly in our society, and how it links into science. Aveni comes off as an extremely thoughtful person who has produced a real labor of love. He seeks both to put the research of John Major Jenkins (The 2012 Story) into the context of more traditional Maya studies, as well as understand why Jenkins is so intent on discovering a Maya basis for cosmological awareness. You'll learn how little we know about the Maya and why they fascinate us.

Great book, look past the cover and find out the science for yourself.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Whitesides on March 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
I will hope to be clear in this review as to why I believe that Aveni's book deserves such a poor rating. Since it is published by a University Press, I am judging it by the criteria to which a peer-reviewed manuscript, such as Aveni's should adhere. One reason that such a poorly researched book made it through the peer-review process is that there are so few peers who are qualified to judge the research. The 2012 phenomenon has not received an abundance of academic attention and despite the three years that Aveni says he spent writing the book, he appears to have spent very little time of it doing any actual research (not surprising considering his main research correspondent appears to be a high school student). The bulk of the book could essentially be written from Aveni's head and he doesn't ever seem to check his sources very closely (or at all). So, who am I and why should you care what I say? I certainly don't have the accolades attached to my name that Aveni does, but I have been studying the 2012 phenomenon from within academia for several years. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on the topic and have presented to major professional academic organizations on the subject) and am about to start a Masters thesis on it.

Obviously, I can't point out all of the flaws in Aveni's research here (but perhaps can elaborate more if questioned in the "comments" section of the review. But, let me at least point out a few which can be fairly easily checked on, just to give you an idea of the sloppiness of Aveni's research. I completely agree with one earlier reviewer who noted how very little time Aveni actually devotes to the 2012 phenomenon itself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joan C Wrenn on November 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Spurred by the unsettling catastrophic predictions circulating about the upcoming 2012 "end" of the Maya calendar, astronomer and anthropologist Anthony Aveni sorts through those predictions to determine the basis and believability of each.

The author grounds his arguments in a wide array of evidence: the stars themselves, the writings of ancient Greek and Chinese astronomers, archaeological findings in Mesoamerica, including ancient Aztec and Maya inscriptions and building alignments, colonial era Maya books (those few we have) as well as descriptions of Maya culture by the Spanish colonizers, post-colonial and contemporary Maya culture and the words of their current daykeepers.

In chapter after chapter, Aveni shows what the ancient Maya could have known about astronomical and calendrical events, and then looks for evidence in all his sources that would indicate what they did know. In this way he builds a consistent and sensible foundation for ancient and contemporary Maya worldview and mythology.

Among the topics Aveni takes on are Maya creation myths, the Maya calendar itself and its origins; galactic alignment, the galactic center, and the precession of the equinoxes; the cycles of time and where time ends, if it does.

This book is eminently readable, full of detailed analysis, with common sense in every word, a great overview of the 2012 phenomenon that I would recommend to anyone.
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