Books: Decay in the Jungle

THE ANCIENT MAYA (520 pp.) — Sylvanus G. Morley—Sfanford University Press ($10).

Bat-haunted and deserted for centuries, the mysterious limestone cities of the Maya crouch in the Yucatan bush and the Guatemalan-Honduran jungles. They were already in ruins when Hernando Cortes marched into Mexico 400 years ago to teach Montezuma's Aztecs a Spanish lesson. The names of those deserted cities echo with a kind of distant, mournful music: Tikal, Copan, Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Mayapan.

Sylvanus G. Morley of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, who has worked in the Maya country for 40 years,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!