A British scholar writes a scholarly hook, presenting the range of opinion on disputed points and explaining the processes of discovery and deciphering. The daily life of the Maya in each historical period (Classic; with the Toltecs; in Yucatan; with the Spanish), the influences on art and religion are expressed with little descriptive power but much precision. The photographs of artifacts and ruins are numerous and quite good, but the line drawings are heavy and ugly, though clearly detailed. A loose organization within each chronological period is clarified by the topic outline in the margins. This is older than both Bleeker and the recent Beck First Book of the Ancient Maya, a compact essay in contrast to Von Hagen's discursive narrative, strictly historical in Contrast to the considerable contemporary coverage of Beals' Land of the Mayas. To round out the Maya review, it would be a useful supplement to the exciting record of exploration in Among the Maya Ruins', but it stands on its own as a mature overview for older children.