By Stephen Benz

I was drawn to this book because the author had written about my favorite part of the world, Guatemala, and several parts of the Wild West. The reader is taken through a diversity of locations starting with the Everglades and the sad story of the mass killing of egrets. Forty to sixty hunters would descend and let loose a “barrage,” killing hundreds of birds. The author goes beyond the location and even its beauty with a dramatic focus on history.

In Nebraska, we are introduced to the plight of several tribes like the Cheyenne, the Sioux and the Pawnee.The author spent several years in Guatemala, which is reflected in several stories representing the region’s past, as well as the present. He takes us back to 1561 when Catholic Priest Diego de Landa, who had been taken into the inner circle of Mayan elders is named the Provincial head of the order in Yucatan. And then the story takes a dark turn,
…the cache of idols was discovered and the troubles in Mani began. Several weeks after the first auto-da-fe, Landa arrived in the village to assume supervision of the inquisition. He set up his court under the trees outside the monastery, and there, for the next three months, Landa interrogated and tortured more than 4,500 Maya, including people whom he had befriended during his missionary days. At least 158 people died during the inquiries.

Book reviewed by Mark D. Walker
United States