February 25th, 2006

Books!

A trip down memory lane ...

Ah, I wonder how long this had been on the shelf ... the last time I was down in Mexico was when The Wife was pregnant with Daugther #1, so (given that #1 is ten now), that's got to be at least a decade. I suspect that I picked this up at the remarkable Museo Nacional de Antropologicia down in Mexico City (since the first section of this walks you through various areas of the museum). "Back in the day" I used to travel down to Mexico pretty much at least once a year, and did drag The Wife down there a few times before the kids (heck, I proposed to her up on top of the Pyramid of the Magician at Uxmal!). Anyway, I probably picked this up on that last trip down there, in '95.

As noted, Archaeological Mexico starts out with a bit of a walk-through of the museum, and then moves out to various sites around Mexico. I figure I'd been to about half of the sites covered (my travels were more in the Yucatan and just around the DF, so I've missed places like Palenque and Monte Alban so far), and it's always cool looking through pictures of places where you've been. Oh, yeah ... I guess it would be good to mention that this is primarily a "photo essay" ... each new site gets a few paragraphs of "context" and then there's a paragraph for each picture, but it's heavy on the images ... frankly, by the end, it sort of feels like you've been watching a well-traveled lecturer's vacation snaps rather than "reading a book".

However, if Archaeological Mexico is light on historical details, it does have quite nice photography, and would serve well as an introduction to these sites. I would have appreciated a site map for each to put the various buildings in perspective, but I'm a map freak and "your mileage may vary". Again, if you're familiar with the various ruin sites, it's a fun "walk down memory lane", or, if you're not, it's a decent way to know the difference between Chichen Itza and Coba, so I'd say "go for it" ... it's available via Amazon's new/used service both as new (not from Amazon, but via one of their affiliate vendors, at twenty bucks) or as "like new" (unread but with Peso price stickers on the back cover) for under three bucks ... not shabby for a near-coffeetable photo book!


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