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The Maya (Ninth edition) (Ancient Peoples and Places) Paperback – Illustrated, June 16, 2015
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About the Author
Michael D. Coe is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Yale University. His books include The Maya, Mexico, Breaking the Maya Code, Angkor and the Khmer Civilization, and Reading the Maya Glyphs. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
Stephen D. Houston is Dupee Family Professor of Social Sciences at Brown University. His most recent book is The Life Within: Classic Maya and the Matter of Permanence.
- ASIN : 0500291888
- Publisher : Thames & Hudson; Ninth edition (June 16, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780500291887
- ISBN-13 : 978-0500291887
- Item Weight : 1.79 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #68,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Houston's contributions are also noteworthy for incorporating bite-size summaries of the ideas laid out in his own books for specialists, including brief treatments of morality and personhood, gender roles/norms, and the material world that will be familiar to readers of, say, The Memory of Bones, The Classic Maya, or The Life Within.
The illustrations are wonderful, and there are even more of them than in previous editions. Some images that are exceedingly hard to find have been worked into the present edition, which alone are worth the cost of the book.
My only real gripe is that the style of the prose is, at times, distractingly dated. In part this is because portions of the text are unchanged (or barely changed) from the original 1966 edition, at which time the book's target audience would presumably have understood the references to Pilgrim's Progress and been comfortable with the occasional Latinate stylistic flourishes. These days, however, a typical college-aged (or even college-educated) reader is unlikely to find such flourishes helpful or accessible. Some of these, such as a reference to a goddess that is "easy with her virtue" (p. 255) and "dwarves and other malformed people" who comprise "the most bizarre courtiers (at least from our vantage)" (p. 93), are likely to distract or alienate, rather than engage, a younger readership.
That being said, this is still the best book going for someone who wants to do some basic "reading up" on the Maya before visiting ruins or wading into a more detailed treatment like Sharer and Traxler's The Ancient Maya. The 9th edition is a major step forward in terms of its content, and I look forward to following The Maya through many editions into the future.
My major complaint is that there were not enough maps to help the reader keep track of all the places described, especially because the narrative jumped around quite a bit.
Before I read this book I watched several programs on TV about the Mayan civilization that has greatly expanded based on the ground penetrating radar that has revealed many formerly unknown cities and temples. I recommend this book to anyone else who saw those shows and wants more information.
Some may be put off by the straight forward approach of the book, but good illustrations and solid research make this book a good source for Mayan history. Don’t look to be entertained , but informed.
Top reviews from other countries
It is full of information that's for damn sure and beautiful images of Maya art and architecture but you really have to work for interesting nuggets of information buried under endless descriptions of ceramics and the constant name dropping of his fellow Mayanists and organisations. I get that he wants to credit people for their work but it really does halt the flow of information.
This book is primarily concerned with describing archaeological sites, anthropology and Maya politics/religion is more of a sideshow. I knew this going in after already reading "Mexico" by Coe but it is not apparent if you had not read either before.
The last few chapters about Maya thought and life are the most engaging as well as a sombre and sobering account of the life of modern Maya groups and their trials and tribulations.
This IS a good book and If you have a genuine interest in the Maya and Mesoamerica then it's worth trudging through it to stumble now and then across an interesting detail. If your interests are more casual you would probably be better looking elsewhere.
YThe book must be considered the definative studyon the Maya is divided into 3 -the early,classic and late Maya periods.
Thetext is excellent and the hundreds of pictures magnificent.
I would suggest at least a moderate understanding in the subject is required to fully appreciate this book.