The Hidden Life of the Ancient Maya by Clare Gibson is a very comprehensive and easy to read volume which covers key aspects of the Maya Civilization. Beautiful photographs of Mayan art and architecture accompany the text which provides accurate and well researched information. Topics covered range from the Calendars and Cosmos section through the Gods and Goddesses and Life and Death. The gods were involved in every aspect of the life of the Maya. They controlled the weather, the harvest, they dictated one’s mate, presided over every birth, and were present at one’s death. The author explores this relationship between the people and their gods comprehensively and yet this is not a book on the religion of the Maya; it is a work on how their culture reflected their deeply held beliefs in the order of the universe and their place in it.
It is not always easy to find a reliable, scholarly work on the Maya (especially not recently with over 200 books devoted to explaining the Maya calendar and the end of the world) and this is what makes the book such a great experience. Clare Gibson has put together a fine historical piece which reads easily and the photos of the statues, cities, and art work are wonderfully arranged and, some, just mesmerizing. Highly recommended.