Guatemala holds a dual image. For more than a century, travel writers, explorers, and movie producers have painted the country as an exotic place, a land of tropical forests and the home of the ancient and living Maya. Archaeological ruins, abandoned a millennium ago, have enhanced their depictions with a wistful, dreamy aura of bygone days of pagan splendor, and the unique colorful textiles of rural Maya today connect nostalgically with that distant past. Inspired by that vision, fascinated tourists have flocked there for the past six decades. Most have not been disappointed; it is a genuine facet of a complex land. Guatemala is also portrayed as a poor, violent, repressive country ruled by greedy tyrants with the support of an entrenched elite—the archetypal banana republic. The media and scholarly studies consistently confirm that fair assessment of the social, political, and economic reality.
The Historical Dictionary of Guatemala contains a chronology, an introduction, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 700 cross-referenced entries on important personalities, politics, economy, foreign relations, religion, and culture. This book is an excellent resource for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about Guatemala.