THE LOST WORLD OF QUINTANA ROO by Michel Peissel

THE LOST WORLD OF QUINTANA ROO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here's an adventure book that will keep you reading till daybreak, and it's true. At the ripe old age of 21, back in 1957, Mr. Peissel gave up his Wall Street activities and went off alone to the Mexican jungles of the Quintana Roo territory where he discovered several Mayan cities lost for over 400 years. He had the money and so he went there. (The next year he walked 750 miles through virgin valleys and unvisited mountains of Tibet.) Quintana Roo, a murder-and-bandit ridden jungle province between ucatan and British Honduras, is so far out, malarial and uncivilized that even Mexico won't accept it as a state but merely keeps it as a territory there at the country's oe. However, this seething jungle was the site of one of the highest civilizations ever achieved by man. The Mayan Indians have ruled the jungle there for 3,700 years. During their great renaissance (1250-1450 A.D.) they built fabulous cities, complete with canals and Venetian waterways, and then, inexplicably, they abandoned their cities in a mass exodus to no one knows where. Those Mayas still living in the jungle today preserve the physical type but have almost no memory of their vanished splendor. Mr. Peissel, with colossal innocence, and no food or gun (he even loses his knife), staggers down 50 miles of Mosquito Coast discovering town after lost town which archaeologists had missed from their planes and boats. The largest town he investigates turns out to be an enormous architectural complex almost a mile square, which he describes thrillingly. And he relates his nearly constant fright with much wit and irony. Highly recommended.

Publisher: Dutton