I always like to have a factual book on the go at the same time as a fiction and though books like this are generally often more work than pleasure, I must say that this was a pleasurable read as an introduction to a subject I previously knew very little about.
Quite possibly the most comprehensive book written on The Maya to date. It reads well both for a general audience and for scholarly readers. I bought this on recommendation of one of my University lecturers in preparation for my honeymoon to Mexico because I had not studied Meso-America either as part of my academic studies nor for pleasure.
Coe has constructed a volume rich in illustration, description, plenty of maps, explanations that are easy on the eye and covering the sum total of Maya history from the earliest settlers to the European conquest. He uses a backdrop that we from a European heritage would understand by putting it in context of world events. It also looks at modern ideals of the Maya and how their culture permeates today.
This is a superb introduction for any student of Maya history and Archaeology written by one of its foremost scholars