Monday, 2 November 2015

History Reads: The Lost Chronicles Of The Maya Kings


The Lost Chronicles Of The Maya Kings
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The Maya were unique among the pre-Hispanic civilisations of the Americas in elaborating a sophisticated, fully developed writing system. For a very long time little of their script could be understood, but in recent years major advances in decipherment have shed a while new light on the Maya world and those who ruled it. From inscribed stone monuments set up in the temples and plazas of their cities has emerged written history: the chronicles of the Maya kings. 

Drawing on a wealth of sources- from the accounts of early explorers and archaeologists to the most recent research- David Drew charts the course of Maya discovery and presents answers to many of the mysteries posed by one of the most enigmatic and intriguing of all ancient societies. 

As some of you may or may not know, I'm a complete history geek. To the extent that I'm still in the process of debating a history degree as a backup to my current career. Most periods of history have been done to death for me, it's not that they aren't fascinating, they are. It's just that I've covered it so much, mostly at school, that I'm like....I need something new to discover! The Maya are one such area that I have yet to learn about, so I was excited to start reading the book. I'm definitely the type of person who reads history textbooks for fun, so reading a history book is no problem for me! 

There's a hell of a lot of information in this book, and with the small type....I can see why it's maybe daunting for people. But for all the information contained in the book...it's definitely worth a read and is actually easier to read than you might expect. I actually found the writing, and the way the information was laid out to be compelling, which is what kept me interested and reading through to the end, but that might be because as previously stated...history nerd. 

Don't get me wrong, some parts where a little convoluted, mostly histories, but still....an incredibly interesting read. It covers pretty much everything, from what I can tell. We start out with the discovery of the Maya and then go from there. I rather enjoyed reading the different takes on the painstaking translations and how they where wrong or misconstrued. From there you go through all the stages of the Maya civilisation through to its demise, like I said, there's a tonne of information in it if you're willing to take the time to get stuck in! 

There where illustrations included that made a nice break in all the text, while you had a good look at them. I'd love to say that my interest had been taken care of completely, but I'm still fascinated with the Maya and eager to learn more! 


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