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The Order of Days: The Maya World and the Truth About 2012 Hardcover – May 17, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm a newbie Mayaphile with many questions and in this book, Stuart clarified many things I'd been wondering about. Like, for instance, the difference between the Aztec calendar round and Maya calendars (and why they are so often confused); or a big-picture explanation of the Maya's "deep time" inscriptions and what they mean for the bak'tun ending in 2012. I loved the mini-lectures about each of the most famous Maya stelae, vases, inscriptions, and murals -- objects I'd seen before, but never accompanied by such concise explanations.
When it comes to the general 2012 doomsday nonsense though, Stuart does not have much patience, especially when it invokes fabricated connections to the Maya. Stuart waits until the end of the book when he holds his nose to examine 2012 and the most important evidence regarding 12/21, Tortuguero Monument 6.Read more ›
Drawing upon his own experiences growing up in the land of the Maya, and then his research into their languages, worldview and ancient writings, Stuart shares his insights into Maya views of space and time, the Mesoamerican calendar from its earliest days to the present, and how western scholarship has progressed in its understandings from early ideas to current theories, to possibilities awaiting new discoveries and learnings.
Stuart explains in clear and readable language the three aspects of the Maya time system: the tzolk'in 260-day sacred calendar (still used by Maya daykeepers today), the 365-day political calendar and "long count" date enumeration system (that faded with their great civilization), and their "grand long count" that extends far into the deep past before the current 5,126-year cycle soon to be completed, and far into the future. The Maya ability to reckon time is revealed to be much longer and deeper than science today estimates for the life of the universe!
Stuart's explanations are accompanied by photos and drawings of Maya inscriptions from a variety of their ruined cities. Altogether Stuart's prose is informative, and he does not hesitate to correct colleagues and new agers when their thoughts are not founded on clear evidence. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the ancient Maya.
Does this book make the most sense on the 2012 subject?- Yes
Is it written in an easy to read yet informative and intellectual manner? - Yes
Did I enjoy reading it? - Yes
Am I going to write a book about it as my review? - No
When the answer comes in the last third of the book -- Stuart only takes time to individually refute apocalyptic or otherwise nonsensical claims by some New Age writers in the last chapter, for example -- it becomes clear that the book's intention is not merely to answer that original question after all, but to instruct the reader on the basics of Maya and Mesoamerican culture and thought, and introduce him to the great strides made in this field in recent decades, and with that help him let go of some erroneous preconceptions about the Maya that've been perpetuated since colonial times. More broadly put, this book goes to show that true, scientific understanding is rewarding because it dissipates the veil of exoticism and allows us to consider a people for what they really are.
It wasn't a breezy read, since to be honest it was all new to me, but persevering proved very rewarding. And if you're like me, you're going to appreciate that not a description of vases or murals or glyphs goes without an accompanying illustration, and that likewise complicated concepts are often explained with tables.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A thorough and informative look at the written language and history of the "lost Mayans".Published 15 months ago by Kevin Thomas
An intense study of Maya epigraphy for serious scholars. Well worth the effort! Do your homework and find the fascination.Published on February 26, 2014 by Library maven "Peg"
If you're not, you will have a hard time with this book. It's not that the author doesn't understand the topic, it's the presentation. Read morePublished on February 22, 2013 by James D. Crabtree
David is very informative and factual about the Maya topic. His background and the original photographs and sketches illustrate the topics of the reading in a way that helps one... Read morePublished on January 30, 2013 by Juan M. Beltranena
David Stuart knows how the Maya thought in the past through long-term study of their written language. Dr. Read morePublished on January 23, 2013 by Donald M. Thieme
As a way of preparing for an extended tour of Mayan ruins in Central America, I ordered Stuart's book and read it on my Kindle during the tour. Read morePublished on December 19, 2012 by Jack Scherting
I bought The Order of Days because my wife and I enjoyed two visits to Cobá---once with a guide and a second time riding bikes rented on the site. Read morePublished on November 29, 2012 by Robert W. Hurt
This book had good points and bad points but mostly I was expecting so much more from this author, a noted Mayan expert and whose previous books I've enjoyed. Read morePublished on October 7, 2012 by LostWorlds
Great little book but if your're interested in the Maya. I'd suggest you not start with this one. Still, this guy has grown up in this subject and He'll definitely peak your... Read morePublished on August 30, 2012 by DrJake