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Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs (Sixth Edition) (Ancient Peoples and Places) 6th Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0500287552
ISBN-10: 0500287554
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Coe (anthropology, emeritus, Yale) and Koontz (art history, Univ. of Houston) have teamed to write an updated and expanded version of Coe's masterly work on Mexico's prehistory. All regions and major prehistoric civilizations of Mexico are covered with the exception of the Maya, whose geographical range extends beyond Mexico and who are examined in detail in a separate work by Coe. Information on a number of recent archaeological discoveries has been incorporated into this new edition, and a final chapter on visiting Mexico's archaeological sites has been added. The complexities of Mexico's ancient cultures are perceptively presented and interpreted. Coe and Koontz have done an excellent job of synthesizing a wealth of material and provide a comprehensive introduction to Mexico's prehistory that is both enjoyable to read and highly informative. This beautifully illustrated update belongs in the archaeology and anthropology collections of all academic libraries. Elizabeth Salt, Otterbein Coll. Lib., Westerville, OHCutler, Charles L. Tracks That Speak: The Legacy of Native American Words in North American Culture.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

“A pioneering synthesis.” (Antiquity)

“Compendious ...the first history that puts the subject in its full geographical and climatic context.” (Times Literary Supplement)

“Fascinating reading...an accessible, informed and extremely well illustrated introductory book.” (Popular Archaeology)
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Product Details

  • Series: Ancient Peoples and Places
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 6 edition (September 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500287554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500287552
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Manuel's review of this book is excellent - I couldn't have written it any better! However, here's my two-cents worth:

This book is a must read for anyone who lacks basic knowledge of the ancient Mexican cultures. It provides the reader with brief (and in some cases, more than brief) summaries of several of the various cultural groups that existed, covering geographic, cultural, agricultural, religious, architectural and political backgrounds. It has timelines and drawn maps to aid the reader's temporal and geographical orientation. It contains many illustrations and photographs of artifacts found, temples, statues...etc. excavated. It even includes a brief section and tips on visiting Mexico.

The only gripe I have with this book is that it provides you with a lot of information on some cultures, such as the Aztecs and Toltecs and leaves you with insufficient info on other cultures mentioned, such as the Totonacs. However, this is probably because what archeologists have unearthed of Mesoamerica is only a tiny fraction of what actually existed, i.e. the less than brief information on some of the cultural groups mentioned in this book is probably due to archeologists not having unearthed enough remnants of the existence of these cultures/not being able to fully interpret or place what they have found to date. I'm sure Coe would have provided more info if there was more in-depth info, though in the case of the Maya, there is simply too much information to be made known and hence, rather than trying to simplify everything into one chapter, a whole, separate book has been dedicated to that group.
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I have been reading books on pre-Columbian America for over 20 years, and Michael Coe's titles have always been amongst my favorites. He has not dissappointed me this time either. This book is a great summary of what is known, to date, about pre-hispanic Meso America. Good reading, good archeology.
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I was a little disappointed in Reading "Mexico". I was hoping to read about the ancient peoples of Mexico and what their daliy lives must have been like as well as their history, ways of life, beliefs, etc.. however this book was mainly focuses on archeological excavation sights and the articfacts and goes into great detail of the finds. This is all good and actually very informative for those interested in archeology alone. The book occasionally does touch on the Peoples themselves. Also, it is written in a very dry and sometimes dull and a high-brow manner which was also a turn-off to me. I recommend it though for the purpose of the many illustations and photos (the most interesting parts) and a must read for those interested in archeology.
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Format: Paperback
This is a simple and easy to use reference to the archeological history of Mexico. Simply laid out with lots of examples. Good book.
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Format: Paperback
This book makes it clear that the bulk of Mexican history (and Central America) has NOTHING at all to do with Europeans or anything "Latin American."

In fact, only 5 centuries of Mexico's archeological history has any European trace, vs. 28,000 years of indigenous Mexican occupation.
Michael Coe tells the story of Mexico through it's common denominator: the indigenous people, the "Indians. "

Dr. Coe shows that Mexico is more than just the Aztecs with whom we are most familiar. He presents a breath-taking parade of pyramid-civilizations going back 4,000 YEARS:
Olmec, Tlatilco, Cuicuilco, Izapan, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Mixtec, Tarasco, Toltec, Huaxtec, El Tajin, Pipil, Western Mexico, Zacatecas, Chalchihuites, Cacaxtla, Xochicalco, Chichen Itza, Nicarao and the multi-layered "Maya".
He even includes the Casas Grandes civilization near the Texas border.

Prof. Coe presents recent archeology showing that Mexico had developed the elements of a true civilization between 2300 B.C. - 1800 B.C. This Olmec Civilization predates the Jewish presence in Israel and occurred before there was a single town or city in all of Western Europe.

(By the time Solomon built the First Temple in Isreal in 960 B.C., the Olmec capital at San Lorenzo was already over 400 years old.)

Coe's book is unique in that it presents Mexico's history through an objective long view, and not merely through the ethnocentric cultural lens of Europeans. He presents a refreshing analysis of Mexico that does not use the Spanish Invasion as the starting point (he hardly mentions the Spanish all until the very end).
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Did not use this book, however, I did get an opportunity to read some of the pages of this text. A good read for anyone.

Thank you,

Julia I. Chapman
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Required text book for my Anthropology Course; i received an "A" in the course; thank you so much, great book.
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I got this on the right time.
It was in perfect shape with perfect covered up envelop when it was delivered.
There are nothing more that i can say because I am pretty sure that everyone would love it if they order it.
Thank you so much.
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