Books : reviews

Michael E. Smith, Marilyn A. Masson.
The Ancient Civilizations of Mesoamerica: a reader.
Blackwell. 2000

Twenty-three of the most influential essays by leading scholars are brought together in this reader, revealing the rich variety of cultures and societies that existed in ancient Mesoamerica. Expert editorial introductions explain the context and significance of the contributions, and extensive bibliographies facilitate further research.

This illustrated volume includes the results of the most up-to-date research on a wide range of social practices, cultures, and time periods. Among the subjects addressed are social, economic, and political organization, as well as religion and ideology. The readings are arranged thematically rather than by region in order to compare the main characteristics of Mesoamerican city and rural life, and to bring out both the unity and diversity of these ancient peoples.