Books on the Maya: Suggested Reading for 2012

maya2012.jpgFrom the moment foreign adventurers encountered the “lost” cities of the ancient Maya, there have been many wonderful, worthy books written about the region and its people — both ancient and living. 2012 opens up an entirely new subgenre of Maya-related books. Here are a few of my favorites to get anyone started with a diverse variety of informed perspectives on the subject:

González, Gaspar Pedro. 13 B’aktun: Mayan Visions of 2012 and Beyond (North Atlantic Books, 2010). Unlike any other book you’ll read about 2012, this one was written in Spanish by a Maya novelist and philosopher from Guatemala then translated to English. The book is comprised of a lyrical dialogue, poetry, explanations of Maya concepts, messages to the west and more.

Gonzalez writes, “if on Earth we haven’t been able to become conscientious about nature, our mission, and our relationship with the other beings that exist here, we won’t be able to attain cosmic, more distant, and more spiritual consciousness as humans.”

Jenkins, John Major. The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History (New York: Tarcher/Penguin, 2009). If you are only going to read one book on 2012–or if you are looking for a far-reaching portal to the greater 2012 world, this is the book. Jenkins is one of the most prolific and passionate 2012ologists out there. His 1998 book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 is regarded as a groundbreaking work in the field, “easily one of the best researched of the popular books that focus on the 2012 date,” writes one colleague.

In The 2012 Story, Jenkins covers everything from the ancients’ forward-reaching stone inscriptions to 2012 as a modern global meme. “2012 has gained the status of an icon,” he writes, “a cultural symbol, to be used and often abused for purposes that have nothing to do with its origins and the intentions of its creators.” The book sums up Jenkins’s galactic alignment theory and others’ work as well.

Sitler, Robert, PhD. The Living Maya: Ancient Wisdom in the Era of 2012 (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2010). This book begins with the Yucatec Maya greeting, “Bix a bel?” which means, “How is your road?” And that’s right where the author puts us–on the road in the Guatemalan highlands and southern Mexico, traveling with Robert Sitler in the forest. Some of his anecdotes and encounters happened long before he became a professor at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, others are based on his three decades of working with the Maya. The book weaves these narratives with cultural explanations and lessons we can learn from the Maya of today.

Stuart, David. The Order of Days: The Maya World and the Truth About Maya Time (Random House, 2011). The esteemed epigrapher and author of half a dozen books on Maya hieroglyphics and archeology, Dr. David Stuart is one of the world’s most preeminent Mayanists. In his newest book, he explains the 2012 speculations through his unique, informed lens of four decades of cutting-edge Maya studies research.

Van Stone, Mark. 2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya (San Diego: Tlacaélel Press, 2010). This book, available directly from the author at ( is also a science-based skeptic’s guide to the subject, written by a respected Mayanist, epigrapher, and professional art historian. This remarkable book is overflowing with color illustrations, glyph descriptions, date breakdowns, and a very thorough investigation of the various 2012 theories.

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