"(perhaps the most interesting book of travel ever published." Edgar Allen Poe The jungles of the Yucatan were little known in the 1840s, and they were dangerous. John Lloyd Stephens first visited the region in 1839 and wrote a book about the experience that went through 12 printings, making him one of America's first bestselling writers. In 1843 Stephens published a second, more focused book, Incidents of Travel in Yucatan. In it he recounts a fascinating search into the jungles of Central America, where he found 43 separate Mayan cities. Through his eyes, readers see Yucatan villages of 150 years ago, when Indians used cacao beans instead of money in their marketplaces; a Catholic/indigenous hybrid funeral; and above all, the revelation of ruins covered for hundreds of years by dense vegetation. One hundred years after the book's publication it was still the inspiration for ongoing work in Central American archaeology, and Frederick Catherwood's elegant drawings of Mayan scenes have long since been a touchstone for archaeological illustration. The journey was difficult and Stephens and Catherwood both battled malaria, snakebites, a jaguar attack, impenetrable jungle, and difficult rivers. But they opened up an unknown and fascinating past. They were the first to recognize that the ruins they were encountering all belonged to one people; they were the first to understand that these were the remains of a single civilization, the Maya, and a brilliant one at that, rivaling the Aztec for artistic skill-and perhaps for bloodiness. There's no question that this book is e a worthwhile addition to the Adventure Classic series. It's an undisputed classic, and a great read.