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Ancient Mexico: The History and Culture of the Maya, Aztecs and Other Pre-Columbian Peoples Hardcover – August 10, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

First-rate color photography makes this look at the cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica a valuable addition to any art lover's library collection. Among the civilizations represented in nearly 450 illustrations are the Maya, the Aztecs, and the Toltecs. Readers will learn not only about the mighty pyramids of Tenochtitlan and Cacaxtla, the Temple of the Paintings at Bonampak, and the ball courts of El Tajin, but about smaller ceramic vessels, jade figurines, and other ceremonial objects. Although the text does acknowledge the near-complete destruction of these vibrant cultures by Spanish conquistadors, the majority of its contents are devoted to celebrating what the Mesoamericans did accomplish--and what has been preserved for us to remember those accomplishments.

From Booklist

It is all but impossible to discuss ancient cultures without focusing on religion, and ancient Mexico is no exception. Nearly every extant structure and artifact created by the Maya, Aztecs, Olmecs, and other peoples of the pre-Columbian era--works of surpassing and timeless magnificence--have some spiritual, religious, or ritualistic significance, and the role of religion in every aspect of life is historian and archaeologist Longhena's underlying theme. Myriad books have been produced about Mexico's glorious past, but new discoveries are being made each day, and no volume has color photographs superior to the 445 offered here in this scientifically current, generously proportioned, and finely produced treasury. Longhena conveys the complexities and sophistications of each era and each people in engaging and detailed accounts, reflections of how deeply immersed she is in the spirit of their times via the powerful media of sculpture and architecture. Maps, diagrams, and close-up photographs provide perspectives both panoramic and intimate, a visualization of the way Longhena's histories of individual cultures coalesce into the big picture. Donna Seaman
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang; First Edition edition (August 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556708262
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556708268
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 1 x 14.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,863,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book takes the reader thorough the history of pre-columbian mesoamerica, the daily life of the people and then tours a number of important archaeological sites in Mexico and nearby countries. It includes wonderful photos of amazing artifacts decorative pieces, ceramics and jeewlry and the archaeological sites. It is a stunning book and serves to emphasize the colossal loss the Americas sustained with the conquest. If you've been to Mexico and love it, this book is a nice memento. If you havn't, this will make you want to go.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is packed with information and color photographs of the ancient cultures of Mexico, from the Olmecs to the Zapotecs to the Mayas to the Aztecs. The author even includes sections on the lesser known and understood cultures of Western Mexico. With a fold-out time line and detailed maps of the most famous archaeological sites, this book gives a good overview of the history of these cultures - and then hones in on specifics such as dress, burial customs, religion, war, and games. Extensive attention is also given to the major cities representing these peoples. With color photographs on nearly every page, this is a gorgeous addition to any library. As a reference book, or even as a coffee table book to browse through occasionally, ANCIENT MEXICO can't be beat.
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Format: Hardcover
This oversize coffee-table book has beautifully reproduced, well-chosen photographs, but significant drawbacks.

Pluses:
* Excellent photos of iconic objects
* Good cross-section of prehispanic Mesoamerican artwork/artifacts
* Nice feature articles on many major archaeological sites in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras

Neutral:
* Average-quality text (translated from Italian)

Negatives:
* No decent overall map of the area
* Maps of cultures are so general as to be almost useless

So, this shouldn't be your only guide to prehispanic Mesoamerican history. But the high quality of the photos makes it worthwhile if you find an inexpensive copy. Search on the title, as Amazon usually has used copies in more than one file. More copies & reviews here: Ancient Mexico: The History and Culture of the Maya, Aztects and Other Pre-Columbian Peoples

Happy reading--
Peter D. Tillman
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Format: Hardcover
This oversize coffee-table book has beautifully reproduced, well-chosen photographs, but significant drawbacks.

Pluses:
* Excellent photos of iconic objects
* Good cross-section of prehispanic Mesoamerican artwork/artifacts
* Nice feature articles on many major archaeological sites in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras

Neutral:
* Average-quality text (translated from Italian)

Negatives:
* No decent overall map of the area
* Maps of cultures are so general as to be almost useless

So, this shouldn't be your only guide to prehispanic Mesoamerican history. But the high quality of the photos makes it worthwhile if you find an inexpensive copy. I haven't seen the recent B&N reprint.

Happy reading--
Peter D. Tillman
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