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The End of Time: The Maya Mystery of 2012 1st Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0870819612
ISBN-10: 0870819615
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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
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,161,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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If you are looking for evidence to support predictions of the world ending in 2012, this book will not give you that. However, neither will it disappoint. Aveni's goal in this book is not out to support or de-bunk apocalyptic interpretations of the Mayan calendar, as the title may suggest. Instead, he explore's what our contemporary culture finds fascinating about how they viewed their world. In the process, we learn a lot about ourselves. Using the Mayans as a lens to our own culture, we learn how we see patterns in our natural world and give meaning to it. The reference to Shakespeare's quote in the preface "It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves" is probably the best summary one could make of the book.

Aveni's work does not fit easily in categories. He is part physical scientist, part anthropologist and his big insights come in the transitions between the two. This is a particularly difficult intersection of scholarly areas. Because he is so respectful of belief systems, he may be viewed skeptically by scientists. Like-wise, his appeal to scientific methods and the limits of physical evidence may disappoint those who want people who desire concrete "answers". If approached with an open mind, this book can provide very helpful insight to everyone.

If you are looking for an introduction to the foundations of his scholarly work, I suggest you consider buying his "Empires of Time" or one of his many other books. However, this book is timely and a very useful guide to interpret the deluge of news stories on this subject as we approach the end of 2012.
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