Final Report: An Archaeologist Excavates His Past

Michael D. Coe, Author
Michael D. Coe, Author Thames & Hudson $29.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-500-05143-6
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In this charming memoir, archaeologist Coe (Breaking the Maya Code) does for archaeology what E. O. Wilson's Naturalist did for evolutionary biology, looking back on a fruitful career, acknowledging his own good fortune and giving us a deeply humanist look at one man's life in science. His Long Island childhood and young adult years are related with both dry amusement and youthful wonder, as is his first trip to Yucatan as an unfocussed Harvard undergraduate, when he became fascinated with the mysteries of the Maya and decided to pursue anthropology. His stint as a CIA operative in the Far East during the Korean War takes him further into the world of archaeology, introducing him to Chinese history and important Taipei scholars. He covers his subsequent travels to such exotic locales as Thailand, Sri Lanka, Guatemala and Tennessee. Coe also writes lovingly of his wife, the late Sofie Dobzhansky, daughter of the brilliant geneticist, Theodosius Dobzhansky, and how her fluency in Russian would become crucial to his work. Coe's vivid description, keen insights and clear prose will keep readers engaged and wanting more; fortunately, a bibliography of his principal publications is included. 41 b&w illustrations.
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