Book Review: Maya 2012 Revealed: Demystifying the Prophecy

The Mexican Government is predicting that the coming Maya apocalypse will create a tourism boom of 52 million visitors. The state is building a new hotel at Calakmul to deal with the influx, and government-sponsored, Maya-themed tourist events abound.

When I first read about the official 2012 fanfare, I thought it sounded like a desperate gimmick, a weak attempt to use a thin premise to bolster flagging tourism. After all, it takes about 30 seconds with Google to discover that the supposed Maya apocalypse is a bunch of bullshit drummed up by New Age nutcases and that the “end of the Maya Calendar” (and subsequent predicted end of the world) is really just the end of the great long count cycle. Right?

Then I read Maya 2012 Revealed: Demystifying the Prophecy, by Jeanine Kitchel. It turns out that Dec. 21, 2012 is much more significant than I thought and could actually be a really cool time to visit Mayalandia . Beyond that I’m not coughing up any of the book’s secrets; Kitchel does a good job of creating a sense of suspense, and I don’t want to ruin that.

I will say that the book’s three great strengths are its organization, which keeps the reader in suspense (Kitchel delicately avoids weighing in on the key question until the book’s final passages); Kitchel’s sterling objectivity (Kitchel untangles the dearth of 2012 conspiracy theories while delicately avoiding making fun of the 2012-ologists); and Kitchel’s obvious dedication to her subject matter: her voice really comes alive when she talks about Mayan culture.

I would like to see a more definitive breakdown of the inscriptions on the six Mayan monuments that sparked the 2012 controversy, but the author does provide very detailed and interesting explanations of Mayan astronomy and Mayan beliefs about time. The imminent end of the world still seems unlikely, but if you’re interested in astronomy, astrology, the Maya, or, more specifically, the true significance of Dec. 21, 2012, then Kitchel’s book is well worth your time. A quick yet enlightening read.

Paperback (and Kindle) versions of Maya 2012 Revealed are available at You can read more about Kitchel at her website or her blog.

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2 Responses to “Book Review: Maya 2012 Revealed: Demystifying the Prophecy”

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  1. frank theodore says:

    I really enjoyed Kitchel”s book as I am a bit of a history buff and am very impressed w/ what the Mayans accomplished more than 1000 yrs ago. I’m going to reread it now that I have the hardcover edition.

  2. Churpa says:

    Thanks for commenting, Frank! I agree…What are your other favorite books on the Maya?