Jungle of Stone: The Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya
Creative Truths Book Club Inaugural Selection, May 2016
The extraordinary true story of the rediscovery of the Mayan civilization: In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Empire of Ice, comes the forgotten tale of 19th century American John Lloyd Stephens’s quest to uncover and understand the ancient world’s most advanced civilization amid the jungles of Central America
Imagine The Lost City of Z, except the fabled lost jungle civilization really was found—an “Egypt in the Americas” in which 1,500-year-old pyramids and temples were hidden in impenetrable tropical forests, along with evidence of astonishingly sophisticated art, writing, science, and culture.
In 1839, when John Lloyd Stephens, a dashing U.S. special ambassador to Central America, and Frederick Catherwood, an acclaimed British architect and draftsman, set out into the unexplored jungles of the Yucatan, Charles Darwin was aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, the Bible was the basic template of history, and most people believed the world was less than 6,000 years old. Deep in the jungles, they stumbled upon the wondrous ruins of the Mayan civilization—an astonishing find that would change western understanding of human history.
In Jungle of Stone, William Carlsen uncovers the rich history of the ruins as he follows Stephens and Catherwood’s journey through present day Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Drawing upon Stephens’s journals and Cather’s magnificent illustrations—which became the bestselling book Incidents of Travel in Yucatan—Carlsen artfully tells the enthralling story of two great voyagers and the world they discovered