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Jungle of Stone: Book summary and reviews of Jungle of Stone by William Carlsen

Jungle of Stone

The True Story of Two Men, Their Extraordinary Journey, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya

by William Carlsen

Jungle of Stone by William Carlsen X
Jungle of Stone by William Carlsen
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About this book

Book Summary

The extraordinary true story of the rediscovery of the Mayan civilization: In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Empire of Ice, comes the forgotten tale of 19th century American John Lloyd Stephens's quest to uncover and understand the ancient world's most advanced civilization amid the jungles of Central America.

Imagine The Lost City of Z, except the fabled lost jungle civilization really was found - an "Egypt in the Americas" in which 1,500-year-old pyramids and temples were hidden in impenetrable tropical forests, along with evidence of astonishingly sophisticated art, writing, science, and culture.

In 1839, when John Lloyd Stephens, a dashing U.S. special ambassador to Central America, and Frederick Catherwood, an acclaimed British architect and draftsman, set out into the unexplored jungles of the Yucatan, Charles Darwin was aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, the Bible was the basic template of history, and most people believed the world was less than 6,000 years old. Deep in the jungles, they stumbled upon the wondrous ruins of the Mayan civilization - an astonishing find that would change western understanding of human history.

In Jungle of Stone, William Carlsen uncovers the rich history of the ruins as he follows Stephens and Catherwood's journey through present day Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Drawing upon Stephens's journals and Cather's magnificent illustrations - which became the bestselling book Incidents of Travel in Yucatan - Carlsen artfully tells the enthralling story of two great voyagers and the world they discovered.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Thrilling ... A captivating history of two men who dramatically changed their contemporaries' view of the past." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. "Lively. ... Ably researching [Stephens and Catherwood] and affectingly describing their friendship, Carlsen makes an exemplary contribution to the lost-cities genre." - Booklist

"Carlsen's cogent and well-written dual biography successfully illuminates the fascinating tale of these intrepid pioneers of a lost civilization. For recreational readers or researchers interested in the rediscovery of Mayan culture, the history and archaeology of Central America, or archaeological adventure tales that make Indiana Jones seem tame. Readers may also enjoy the original works of Stephens and Catherwood." - Library Journal

"Carlsen depicts the two men's arduous expedition with verve and vigor, though some readers may find that the book's staccato narrative structure doesn't do the material justice. The book would also have been strengthened by at least a brief engagement with the longer history of European encounters with Central America... Nonetheless, Carlsen finely explicates the challenges of the Catherwood-Stephens expedition and the wonders they found." - Publishers Weekly

This information about Jungle of Stone was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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