The Guatemala Reader is a Best Seller! The Million Mile Walker Dispatch, June 2024

Dear Friends and Colleagues from Around the World,

We exceeded the Kickstarter goal by 239%, and the funds allowed us to roll out The Guatemala Reader as the #1 New Release for Guatemalan History and the #1 Best Seller for Central American Travel!

In Culture Watch, I’ll highlight the most recent work of three of the “Extraordinary Lives” in my new book. What We’re Reading and Why will introduce the latest book by Maya Anthropologist Victor Montejo, and end with a compelling Voices in Action and a summary of our upcoming trip to Guatemala with two granddaughters in the Calendar.

As a bonus, click on the Million Mile Walker poster above and check out one of the latest Arizona Authors Association Digests, which includes my column. As a new Board member, I’m pleased to report we’ve updated the bylaws, and our literary contest has attracted some outstanding books, essays, and poems (including The Guatemala Reader!)

 The Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign forces you to define your broader mission, of which the book is one part. Twenty-two backers provided the funding to develop a strategy to broaden the audience and educate more people about the realities of Guatemala, with a focus on making changes to benefit the most isolated members of society. Most of the books have shipped, and I hand-delivered copies to backers, with one remaining in Guatemala.

The funds from the Kickstarter allowed us to publish Kindle and paperback versions through KDP. The paperback is $9.99, and the Kindle is $2.99—and don’t forget to rate them on Amazon and Goodreads!  Reviews are the lifeblood of a writer! https://www.amazon.com/Guatemala-Reader-Extraordinary-Amazing-Stories/dp/B0D38JVM4S/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&dib_tag=se&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.gaqKiAB9nC1TgZOcljb60rFeFZcZpPsyIhmZCPGE2MWpWMlyxKImNmHU4BEoUMvbwpzjFcclneZWZNy8OgXrrx-D6ZtXRxzx7qSdqGZvxIzdpJyD9quhKFCccOpuYwy7px6hVi7CNA9URQ7zbNK1OoZ3UJvHP6AbZyd8siYw0JUD8I9EM8fPEn5VcTc6_4Mv7iDICKPN_NrYuCEPB58hblEypS_vk2tCreBqqCbmHe4.Y1uEnzqVRouAvB6qTKPJpoRIkBYkqX8fOZYTbSGhoRw&qid=1717605852&sr=1-1

Culture Watch

I selected the Guatemalans to profile in the book not only because of what they’ve accomplished, but also because of what else they’ll contribute in the future. Here are two pieces of work from my book, “Extraordinary Lives,” which you should check out.

Guatemalan filmmaker Luis Argueta forwarded a trailer to his latest film, “Ausencia” (Absence), about the impact of the outmigration of hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans on those they leave behind, mostly women and children. Some of the children he interviews come from communities in the highlands where 40% of the population has moved away; a compelling story you will remember. Four chapters of my book focus on Luis’s work to explore the realities of immigration. https://www.ausenciath

The Guatemalan/American author of The Art of Political Murder, Francisco Goldman, wrote a cautionary tale, “From Texas to Massachusetts: On the Border Within a Fascist America,” about what to expect from Trump’s plans to implement “the largest deportation operation since Eisenhower” – operation wetback. This is when the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the surge in immigration will bolster our economy by $7 trillion over a decade!

http://fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR0jbCvvbHe6SBIkw8q5yUFrdRb8hcG7POy1wt1CtRvpAZE7f1UaThgqNEo_aem_AfcAP74otJLk1PYinzkfnfXEYkLUSKvw4ouzm2CQtarFtoOaMbXOk54KddRT2jfXNwV0YXNxA93k2qrtcddQZKvK

What Others Are Saying

A rave review of the video about the making of The Guatemala Reader!

Great video, Mark! I read and LOVED your new book Guatemala Reader and highly recommend it not only to folks interested in this historically rich country but also ones like me who have an innate curiosity for the exotic. Either way, it delivers!!! Congratulations!!!! Eric Madeen, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and author of six books. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noXO1Jgj18k&t=3s

What We’re Reading and Why?

 

It seems appropriate that this book, published on the 500th anniversary of the Spaniard Alvarado’s conquering of the Maya in 1524—makes this a time to reflect on its impact on the Maya, one of the great civilizations of the hemisphere. Victor Montejo is a respected Mayan intellectual and activist. He believes that racism in Guatemala is understood best as a system originating in the inequality established by the Spanish conquest. The Spaniards viewed the indigenous peoples as barbarians who needed to be controlled and civilized. Despite the Spaniards’ relentless efforts to alter and eradicate numerous Maya traditions and values, a significant number have managed to endure to this day. Montejo, a staunch defender of Mayan values, has chosen to resurrect his grandfather’s near-death experience and epic journey through the Mayan underworld, a tale passed down to him by his mother. This act of preservation is a testament to the unwavering resilience of the Maya culture…

At the end of the book, Montejo provides several reasons that it is relevant today: “It shows us the deep religiosity of the indigenous peoples of Guatemala…In addition, we can affirm that there are many similarities between the Catholic religion and Maya spirituality…

Over the years, my respect and appreciation for his writing and activism grew. Eventually, I profiled him as one of my “Extraordinary Lives” in my forthcoming book, The Guatemala Reader. Go here for my entire review:

https://millionmilewalker.com/2024/05/kidnapped-to-the-underworld-by-victor-montejo-reviewed-by-mark-d-walker/

Voices in Action

Calendar: Returning to Guatemala

Passing on the wanderlust for travel and learning about and appreciating other cultures to family and friends has always been one of my goals in life, and a basic tenet of “The Yin and Yang of Travel.”  This trip will include my son, who was born in Guatemala, his wife, and one of their children, plus one of my oldest daughter’s daughters, who was also born in Guatemala.

Our three-week sojourn will start in Guatemala City, the largest city in Central America, and will include a celebration with 30+ of my wife’s extended family. Then we head for San Jeronimo, Baja Verapaz, where I met my wife and visited with family members for a day in the exotic Indigenous community of Coban, Alta Verapaz. Then, we fly to the island of Flores in the Peten jungle, which will be our jumping-off point for the majestic Maya ruins of Tikal.

Next, we will spend several days at Lake Atitlan, where we’ll visit the art gallery of Nan Cuz, the artist whose work I highlight in the first chapter of my book, and the photographer of the Indigenous girl whose gaze fills the cover of my latest book. We might run into Chichicastenango to visit Santo Tomas church and market and, with any luck, a rendezvous with author Victor Montejo in Xela. We’ll spend a day in the colonial, cultural phenomenon of Antigua, where we’ll meet friends, and I’ll gift a copy of my book to the editors of “Revue” magazine, which published many of the stories in my new book.

You can find my 80 book reviews and 28 articles, plus several videos and photos, on my website, including a reduced price for my new book if you read it and pass it along to your local library: http://millionmilewalker.com. “Follow” me on Twitter—at

and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/millionmilewalker/ for the latest international affairs and literature.

And, as always, if you’ve read “Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond, My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road, the Best Travel Book according to the Peace Corps Writers, and of course, my most recent book, The Guatemala Reader, please review and rate them on Amazon and Goodreads.

Shalom!

 

 Mark D. Walker

MillionMileWalker.com

Posted in All, Book Reviews: Latin America, Book Reviews: Non-fiction, Book Reviews: Travel, Million Mile Walker Newsletter.

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