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Jungle of Stone: The True Story of Two Men, Their Extraordinary Journey, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya (2016)

af William Carlsen

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2598101,590 (4.01)11
Documents the true story of the nineteenth-century rediscovery of the Mayan civilization by American ambassador John Lloyd Stephens and British architect Frederick Catherwood, illuminating how their findings profoundly changed Western understandings about human history.
  1. 00
    Time Among the Maya: Travels in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico af Ronald Wright (rakerman)
    rakerman: Jungle of Stone tells the tale of the rediscovery of the Maya cities, and Time Among the Maya tells the tale of the Maya civilisation itself, with a focus on its perception of time, so the books offer different sides of the Maya story.
  2. 00
    The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey af Candice Millard (rakerman)
    rakerman: River of Doubt tells the tale of a difficult exploration of an Amazonian river. Jungle of Stone tells the store of challenging explorations of Mayan sites.
  3. 00
    The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story af Douglas Preston (rakerman)
    rakerman: Jungle of Stone tells the story of challenging explorations of Mayan sites. The Lost City of the Monkey God tells the tale of a challenging exploration of a city from an unknown but potentially Maya-related civilization.
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What a phenomenal book. Carlsen traces the lives of the two men who, while not the first to discover the Mayan ruins, but were the first to see the sites for what they were: an indigenous civilization. John L. Stephens was an accomplished writer and enthusiastic traveler. In addition, the profuse illustrations by Frederick Catherwood were so accurate they can be used by researchers today. Their story is remarkable.

This isn't a small book, but it never lagged or skimped on detail. I came into the book interested primarily in the ruins themselves, but I loved the detail of the revolutions, the pursuit of passage through South America from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the early lives of Stephens and Catherwood. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 2, 2023 |
One of the few books I have read twice, 'Jungle of Stone' is a brilliant exposition of the archaeologists who finally unearthed the full historicity of the Mayan civilization from its jungle slumber and opened the Mesoamerican past to future generations of intellectuals. ( )
  Amarj33t_5ingh | Jul 8, 2022 |
A fascinating read focused on the exploits of 19th century writer John L. Stephens and his British artist friend Frederick Catherwood and their exploration of the Yucatán peninsula.

They endured disease, storms, insects, numerous revolutions, inhospitable terrain, and seemingly impenetrable jungle to uncover and document the staggering remains of over 40 previously unknown Maya cities.

They literally brought a long lost civilization back into the light and in doing so challenged the established Euro-centric view of human history.

I must admit to being totally unaware of either gentleman and their achievements before reading this volume. It also made me aware of my equal ignorance of South American history in general - a situation I need to rectify.

The story is compelling enough but Catherwood’s intricate detailed drawings done on site add another level of awe to their achievements. ( )
  gothamajp | Mar 31, 2022 |
The more you approach this book as life and times of John Stephens & Frederick Catherwood the more that you'll like it. Where the problem comes is that damn little is known in particular about Catherwood, the man who produced the marvelous drawings of the Mayan ruins Stephens used to illustrate his book; possibly the result of an imploding marriage resulting in the loss of a lot of documentary material. As for what I would have liked to have seen is perhaps a little more of a compare and contrast of what Stephens & Catherwood thought they were seeing with what we actually know now about the Maya. What you get is quite a lot about the colonial dueling in the region; probably not a shock since Carlsen spent much of his career in Central America as a journalist. ( )
  Shrike58 | Jul 26, 2020 |
Stephens and Catherwood explored 44 ruined sites in Central America, publishing best-selling books about them. I expected this story to be much more interesting than it was. Carlsen's problem, I think, is that he doesn't have enough to go on. Very little is known about Stephens and Catherwood personally, or about their relationship with each other. Most of their letters are lost, and for long stretches Carlsen can't even say what country they are in. It's hard to write compelling nonfiction when there is so little known. Still, there are some gems to be found, and I found interesting the denouement explaining their involvement in building a Panama railroad during the California Gold Rush. I also liked Carlsen's capsule summary of Mayan history, based on what is known today; maybe it is filler material but some of it was new to me.

> Stephens and Catherwood's historic journey radically altered our understanding of human evolution. In their wake, it became possible to comprehend civilization as an inherent trait of human cultural progress, perhaps coded into our genes; a characteristic that allows advanced societies to grow out of primitive ones, organically, separately, and without contact, as occurred in Central America and the Western Hemisphere, which were isolated from the rest of the world for more than fifteen thousand years. And, just as with the Old World's ancient civilizations, they can collapse, too, leaving behind only remnants of their previous splendor. … Native Americans had built the cities, created the art, raised the towers, temples, and pyramids, and fashioned their own unique system of writing. This conclusion would forever alter the understanding of human history on the American continents and provide new insight into human cultural evolution.

> "The Indians who inhabit that country now are not more changed than their Spanish masters. We know that at the time of the conquest they were at least proud, fierce, and warlike, and poured out their blood like water to save their inheritance from the grasp of strangers. Crushed, humbled, and bowed down as they are now by generations of bitter servitude, even yet they are not more changed than the descendants of those terrible Spaniards who invaded and conquered their country. In both, all traces of the daring and warlike character of their ancestors are entirely gone." ( )
  breic | Dec 17, 2019 |
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Introduction: As a I crossed Guatemala's largest lake and approached the village of Izabal, it was almost impossible to imagine that this loose collection of cinder-block houses and scattered huts was once the chief port of entry to nineteenth-century Central America.
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Chapter 1: South, 1839. Thirteen years earlier, before dawn, Stephens stepped aboard a British brig to embark on the boldest, most extraordinary journey of his life.
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Documents the true story of the nineteenth-century rediscovery of the Mayan civilization by American ambassador John Lloyd Stephens and British architect Frederick Catherwood, illuminating how their findings profoundly changed Western understandings about human history.

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