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,...

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