(P)2008 Lumos Publications Inc.
retired professor and historian
This is a classic tale of the exploration of Maya ruins in Central America and much more. Stephens and his traveling companion, Mr. Catherwood, were among the first outsiders to depict the great centers of Copan and Palenque, among others.
Unfortunately, the web site which is supposed to provide the reproductions of Catherwood's drawings was blank and the reader indulged in some questionable pronunciations at times. But all in all, this is a spellbinding adventure well told.
I bought this title because I visited several Maya sites on an archaeological tour and am very interested in what Stephens and Catherwood saw and thought. The first volume, set in Guatemala beginning in 1839, has very little of this to offer. It mainly focuses on Stephens' travels in Guatemala and only describes one archaeological site. Catherwood is a minor character.
The reading begins agonizingly badly, with phrasing nonexistent. It improves somewhat as the book continues, but the editing is poor. There are spots where the reader notes he'll try that again (and repeats), for example.
As many have noted, the website provided for Catherwood's illustrations is currently "under construction".
Hopefully the future volumes will offer more that is of archaeological interest.
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