Review: The End of Time: The Maya Mystery of 2012 by Anthony Aveni

Published by University Press of Colorado
Released October 15, 2009
200 pages
Where I got it: Academic library where I work
Rating: 3 stars

There’s been quite a bit of buzz about the so called Mayan Apocalypse, rumored to take place on December 21, 2012.  As the date draws nearer, more and more sites appear discussing the event on the internet, and the theories of what this means for mankind grow stranger and stranger.  Understandably, all of this chatter can really frighten those who read it and don’t know what to make of it all.  This serves as the impetus for Aveni’s book: a young man, disturbed by the 2012 hype, begins an email correspondence to find out what the Mayans really thought.

Aveni gives his expert opinion.  He’s both and astronomer and a Mayan researcher, and his expertise in both fields is very apparent as you read the book.  To be honest, this was a little bit of a drawback for me, since although he tries to write for the layman, it still came across as over my head.  I took astronomy in college, but still struggled a bit when it came to the astronomy heavy chapter (although, to be fair, I struggled with it in college as well).  The best chapter for me was when Aveni summed up the many other times humans have predicted the impending end of the world.

Aveni largely thinks that the people who are spouting the Mayan apocalypse are getting it wrong.  The astronomy doesn’t hold up, and the Mayan research is sketchy at best.  There are just too many areas where we don’t know enough to make a real judgement call about what the Maya meant or knew.  So chill, Aveni thinks we’ll be okay.

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