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Jungle of Stone Audiobook

Jungle of Stone: The True Story of Two Men, Their Extraordinary Journey, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya

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Publisher's Summary

"Thrilling.... A captivating history of two men who dramatically changed their contemporaries' view of the past." (Kirkus)

In 1839 rumors of extraordinary yet baffling stone ruins buried within the unmapped jungles of Central America reached two of the world's most intrepid travelers. Seized by the reports, American diplomat John Lloyd Stephens and British artist Frederick Catherwood - each already celebrated for their adventures in Egypt, the Holy Land, Greece, and Rome - sailed together out of New York Harbor on an expedition into the forbidding rainforests of present-day Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. What they found would rewrite the West's understanding of human history.

In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and In the Kingdom of Ice, former San Francisco Chronicle journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist William Carlsen reveals the unforgettable true story of the discovery of the ancient Maya. Enduring disease, war, and the torments of nature and terrain, Stephens and Catherwood uncovered and documented the remains of an astonishing civilization that had flourished in the Americas at the same time as classic Greece and Rome. Their remarkable book about the experience became a sensation and is recognized today as the birth of American archeology. Most importantly, Stephens and Catherwood were the first to grasp the significance of the Maya remains, recognizing that their antiquity and sophistication overturned the West's assumptions about the development of civilization.

By the time of the flowering of classical Greece (400 BC), the Maya were already constructing pyramids and temples around central plazas. Within a few hundred years, the structures took on a monumental scale. Over the next millennium dozens of city-states evolved, each governed by powerful lords, some with populations larger than any city in Europe at the time. The Maya developed a unified cosmology, an array of common gods, a creation story, and a shared artistic and architectural vision. They created dazzling stucco and stone monuments and bas reliefs, sculpting figures and hieroglyphs with refined artistic skill. At their peak an estimated 10 million people occupied the Maya's heartland on the Yucatan Peninsula. And yet, by the time the Spanish reached the "New World", the classic-era Maya had all but disappeared; they would remain a mystery for the next 300 years.

Today the tables are turned: The Maya are justly famous, if sometimes misunderstood, while Stephens and Catherwood have been all but forgotten. Based on Carlsen's rigorous research and his own 2,500-mile journey throughout the Yucatan and Central America, Jungle of Stone is equally a thrilling adventure narrative and a revelatory work of history that corrects our understanding of the Maya and the two remarkable men who set out in 1839 to find them.

©2016 William Carlsen (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

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There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

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  • Martin Fierro
    Northern CA
    19/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Presentation of a Fascinating Story"

    I studied several books to prepare for a trio to the Yucatan focused on Maya archeological sites.
    This book covers much of what I learned, skillfully interwoven with the story of two adventurers who (at great personal risk and pain) brought some of the mysteries of the Maya to the world.
    Well worth the read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • bwallacecathey
    20/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "upstairs, downstairs; helps and hinders"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    remarkable people are very much worth study


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Jungle of Stone?

    when Stephens won't put up 9000$ for Catherwood's book though Stephens father was worth $500,000. Penny wise, pound foolish.


    Have you listened to any of Paul Michael Garcia’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    A fine reading.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    the men's lives were tragic largely


    Any additional comments?

    you will enjoy it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stuart
    01/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great history and characters, a bit too tangential"

    A great story with inspiring characters. The level of depth is astounding and paints a strong picture of the two men as they travel throughout central America. The book is very tangential at times and this doesn't play well with the audiobook format as it is easy to get lost.

    In terms of information on the Maya, it is certainly there and is very interesting, but is only introduced about half way through the book. This title is first and foremost about Stevens and Catherwood, with the Mayan cities as a backdrop for their life stories.

    Nevertheless, a good overview of Mayan civilization, its successes and eventual downfall is given. The 1800s were an incredible time and discovering many of these ruins for the first time in Western history is a marvel well conveyed by the author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amar Hinduja
    23/07/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "rediscovering Maya"

    An interesting narrative of the 1840s - both archaeological and biographical. I never realized that central America had such a rich archaeological heritage. The discovery of the Mayan sites , laying of the Panama railroad, and struggles in the lives of RL Stevens and Fredrick Catherwood are all interwoven in this interesting narrative. Be sure to see Catherwood's wonderful lithographs of the Maya on the net.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David
    United States
    21/07/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "You could not find a better place to start"

    I have always been a bit perplexed on things Mezoamerican and this book provided a lot of much needed focus. Its not as if I never put my toe in and I even have a Great Courses lecture series. But its really all about the Maya. A seriously high civilization from a seriously small place and very very alien. I spent half my time googling places and people and it was well worth the effort. Google mayan art and think about it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Histerian
    04/06/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "hysterian"

    A fascinating and broadly researched work. Carlson is careful not to write beyond his sources. Covering so many topics and so much material made the flow difficult to follow at times. My manor complaint is with Mr Garcia. Just because his name is Spanish does not mean he can speak it. Surely WITH ALL THE HISPANICS IN THIS COUNTRY one would hope they could find someone who speaks the language!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • sally
    09/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well worth it!"

    This amazing tale of adventure and discovery is well written and well married. I learned a lot enjoyed listening to it while I walk. Having been to Guatemala, I was pleased to recognize the names of several locations I have visited, but I had no idea that these ruins existed. Maybe it's time for return.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    07/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hard to follow."

    Tried twice but very difficult to listen to. Perhaps it would be a better read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • BearheartRaven
    09/08/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointingly Eurocentric"

    I found the story to be disappointingly Eurocentric. It focused on the Europeans that found the ruins and there story rather than the civilization which created them.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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