A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya North America David Freidel William Morrow PaperbacksMar 31
Two Maya archeologists base this tale of war, expansion and ritual on recently deciphered Mayan hieroglyphics and artifacts. According to PW , the authors “vividly conjure the Maya world of cyclical time and multiple levels of reality, a universe where all things are alive with meaning.” Illustrated.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The mystique of the pre-Columbian Maya has prompted much speculation about the nature of this sophisticated people. With the recent breaking of their elaborate hieroglyphic code, Schele and Freidel, Mayan scholars of note, provide a new look at the Maya. Structured on sound scholarly principles, their presentation abounds in notes, references, indexes, and chronologies with profuse line-drawings of temple and other inscriptions. They devote a chapter to each of the major Mayan city-states. What makes this volume more accessible and of greater impact than the average scholarly study are the frequent vignettes of great events, kingly acts, etc., told dramatically, in a fictive but plausible style that allows the ancient Maya at last to speak for themselves. Recommended for informed laypersons, as well as specialist and YA readers. See also William Ferguson and others’ Mesoamerica’s Ancient Cities, reviewed in this issue, p. 122.–Ed.
- Jo-Ann D. Suleiman, Sanad Support Technologies, Rock ville, Md.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The recent interpretation of Maya hieroglyphs has given us the first written history of the New World as it existed before the European invasion. In this book, two of the first central figures in the massive effort to decode the glyphs, Linda Schele and David Freidel, make this history available in all its detail. A Forest of Kings is the story of Maya kingship, from the beginning of its institution and the first great pyramid builders two thousand years ago to the decline of Maya civilization and its destruction by the Spanish. Here the great historic rulers of pre-Columbian civilization come to life again with the decipherment of their writing. At its height, Maya civilization flourished under great kings like Shield-Jaguar, who ruled for more than sixty years, expanding his kingdom and building some of the most impressive works of architecture in the ancient world. Long placed on a mist-shrouded pedestal as austere, peaceful stargazers, the Maya elites are now known to have been the rulers of populous, aggressive city-states.
Hailed as “a Rosetta stone of Maya civilization” (Brian M. Fagan, author of People of the Earth), A Forest of Kings is “a must for interested readers,” says Evon Vogt, professor of anthropology at Harvard University.
Because of the wealth of new archaeological data and breakthroughs in the translation of hieroglyphs, Coe’s updating of his classic synthesis of Maya civilization provides a valuable service to both informed lay readers and specialists wishing to apprise themselves of the current state of understanding of this most intellectually sophisticated and aesthetically refined pre-Columbian culture. Although the vast majority of the text may be found in the prior edition, the work is transformed by significant interpolations and deletions and is augmented by a new section of color plates, a useful guide for travelers, and a listing of Maya rulers. As it now stands, this refreshed and renewed little masterpiece merits a place in collections serving students of ancient Mesoamerica. Continuing a tradition of massive exhibitions and concomitant exhibition catalogs, the Palazzo Grassi, Venice, has at last discovered the New World. This initial incursion wisely focuses on the most accessible of the great pre-Hispanic cultures, the Maya. In this daunting but unfocused potpourri, some 29 essayists broach nearly the full range of Maya historical, societal, intellectual, political, and artistic traditions with varying degrees of competence. As is common with collective efforts of this sort, one finds both a certain redundancy of elementary facts and a not infrequent inconsistency about the facts themselves. Crammed into the last hundred pages of the volume is the catalog of more than 500 well-illustrated but only perfunctorily documented and analyzed objects. Aside from its value as a remarkable gathering of some 1400 excellent color reproductions, this ill-balanced and ultimately superficial tome has little to recommend it.ARobert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“The gold standard of introductory books on the ancient Maya.”Expedition
The Maya has long been established as the best, most readable introduction to the New Worlds greatest ancient civilization. In these pages Michael D. Coe distills a lifetimes scholarship for the general reader and student.
The eighth edition incorporates the latest archaeological and epigraphic research. Among the finest new discoveries are the spectacular polychrome murals of Calakmul, which provide archaeological evidence for the importance of marketplaces in the Classic Maya cities as well as giving a unique glimpse into Maya daily life. Other recent finds relate to the initial peopling of the Maya area by Early Hunters and Archaic peoples.
It is clear that the birth of Maya civilization lies not in the Classic but in the Preclassic period, above all in the Mirador Basin of northern Guatemala, where the builders of gigantic ancient cities erected the worlds largest pyramid as early as 200 BC. In addition, the persistent influence of the precocious Olmec civilization of southeast Mexico on the development of complex society in the Maya area has become more apparent. These and other discoveries continue to suggest that we must rethink what we mean by the term Classic.
This edition concludes with new historical evidence for the crucial role played by collaborationist native leaders, both Maya and non- Maya, in the Spanish conquest of the region. 20 color and 170 black-and-white photographs and illustrations