Jungle of the Maya
Photographs by Douglas Goodell and Jerry Barrack, text by Jim Wright
Published by University of Texas Press, 2006
This is a stunning book. It is very much in the image of the Time-Life Wilderness series of the 1960s and 70s. The photographs are excellent, well printed, and are complimented by highly readable text. In fact the photographs are so varied and interesting that I felt the captions should also include details of how they were taken, such as shutter speed etc.
While the text is in a light, journalistic, easy to read style, a bit more substance would have been useful. There are no references or sources given, and it would be interesting to know more about some of the facts. For example, I would very much like to know the source of statements such as "...Mexican black howlers are threatened species, and spider monkeys are on the endangered list. Both species have declined by an estimated 20 percent in the past decade." I am not disputing these facts, but it would be nice to know the sources.
But this is nit-picking and should in no way deter anyone from buying this book; it is a splendid celebration of an area of wilderness that the World Land Trust has played a key role in preserving. The photographs show just why all of us who have been lucky enough to visit, are so enthusiastic. If you can't visit, buy this book, and if you have visited, you will want this as a souvenir.
Review by John Burton