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Sintesi dell'editore

The ancient Maya were the only fully literate pre-Colombian people in the Americas. Superb scientists, they developed highly sophisticated mathematics and an intricate and accurate calendar system. Theirs was one of the few complex societies to emerge in and to adapt successfully to a tropical-forest environment. Their architecture, sculpture, and painting were sophisticated and compellingly beautiful.

In this comprehensive survey, updated for this new edition, Henderson explores the entire Maya cultural tradition, from the earliest traces of settlement through the period of the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. His wide-ranging account treats diverse aspects of the Maya world, from religion and philosophy to the environments of the various Maya peoples, using deciphered Maya texts to reconstruct the ancient societies.

©1981 Cornell University Press; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.

"The best full-length, up-to-date overview of Maya archaeology available today." (Choice)
"A superb, panoramic view of the entire history and extent of Maya culture....This book...could be taken as a model of its kind." (Art Book Review)

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  • Totali
  • Jim
  • 15 02 2007

Not for the layman

I was interested in this title because I visited Tikal and Copan recently. I was hoping for more general knowledge on the Mayan culture. This is much more for specialists. It almost seems like a doctoral dissertation. Unless you find comparing and contrasting stelae from the late pre-classical period to those of the late classical period fascinating, avoid this. It will put you to sleep. The reader has a very dry, academic tone that just makes this a completely joyless listen. Too much work for too little useful, interesting knowledge.

29 su 31 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

  • Totali
  • J. Clapp
  • 01 04 2008

A little boring

I was looking for something that talked about the Mayan Culture and explained it in a way that let you understand it. However, this one was mundane and while it was insightful, and gave alot of information, the reader sounded even bored at times with the information.

8 su 9 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

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  • Frederick
  • 25 06 2007

Textbook Only

This is a straight up textbook, it is written for the historian and probably not for someone who wants a general look at history.

9 su 11 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

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  • Robert R Mowrer
  • 19 02 2013

A dull college lecture

Would you try another book from John S. Henderson and/or Nadia May?


How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Author delivered a thesis for a professional audience. I needed a story for person interested in history. Also needed a map to "see" the Myan world

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes. A delivery to a professional audience. Dull.

Did The World of the Ancient Maya inspire you to do anything?


Any additional comments?

First audio book I was disappointed in.

1 su 1 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

  • Totali
  • Kimberly Rhoades
  • 15 03 2007


This books gives new meaning to the word redundant.

8 su 14 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

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  • Charles
  • 02 12 2016

Extraordinarily detailed, not a simple summary

This is a remarkable book but not for the faint of heart. If you are looking for a true and thorough compendium of the story of the ancient Maya this book, printed or on audible will stun you with a tightly woven and thorough penetration of the subject. That said if you want a simple summary with a little detail this is not The book for you. I bought the book after starting with audible because, while the reader is extremely professional, the text Though very well written is so dense with the Numerous references that it can be difficult to follow. Overall I was looking for the remarkable detail presented by Henderson and was thrilled by the presentation. Do not buy or download this book if you do not want to know the detailed and remarkable story of the Maya culture in life, like any truly penetrating work of science or history, a genuinely curious reader must find works like this one and then be prepared to do a little work to capture the intricacy.

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  • Thomas
  • 14 02 2016

Yada Yada Yada Yada

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Anyone who likes to hear others speak or write without saying anything. I came to this book after a very exhilarating and exciting visit to the Mayan ruins in the Yucatan. I wanted to learn more. I didn't want to be led in endless circles of bafflegab.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I'll cleanse my abused literary palate on something fresh and interesting. I'm going to try The Boys in the Boat. Hoping for the best.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator spoke with a very punctuated accent that made it very difficult to set the volume, especially in my car. If I set it so I could hear the words between the emphasized syllables those emphatic barks almost blew my speakers. If I toned it down so the punctuated bits were tolerable, the others were unintelligible mumbles. In better acoustic conditions it was okay, but the contrast of the dull material and punctuated even excited delivery gave the impression that the narrator thought this jumble of words was actually interesting. Very confusing. This book deserves to be read by a monotone monk, not someone who thought she was reading an exciting spy thriller.

What character would you cut from The World of the Ancient Maya?

I would cut the whole mess. I have read extensively about history, both modern and archaeological. I've studied the Aztecs, the Incas and the Spanish conquest. The Mayan culture seems steeped in mystery and interest. Yet this book almost extinguished my interest without satisfying any of my questions. I almost forgot why this culture matters to me. I'll keep looking, but I need some time to recover from this mush.

Any additional comments?

Don't let this awful book dissuade you from learning about this mysterious and interesting culture.

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  • Trent
  • 29 08 2015

For the seriously interested only

This good, thorough book can also be kind of dry and pedantic. Really interesting stuff if you're already into Maya history and culture, but maybe select something else if you're just dabbling.

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  • anna
  • 09 01 2015

Deadly Boring

What would have made The World of the Ancient Maya better?

Stories, intrigue, better reading.

Has The World of the Ancient Maya turned you off from other books in this genre?

No. All other books are superior to this one.

How did the narrator detract from the book?


You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Great subject! And it was very thorough in including detailed data.