Below I've put my review of a wonderful new novel about Belize, by Carlos Ledson Miller.
Also, here's my bibliography of Belize-related books and videos. I'm sure I've missed something, but this list would keep you occupied for awhile.
Belize First http://www.turq.com/belizefirst/
THE ULTIMATE BELIZE BEACH BOOK?
Belize, A Novel, by Carlos Ledson Miller. Xlibris Corp., 1999, 402 pp., US$18
When you’re ankle-deep in sand and suntan lotion, you want a good read. Something fast-paced. With an exotic setting. Maybe with a little hot bed-hopping. We’ve just the book for you: Belize, A Novel. It’s by Carlos Ledson Miller, who lived for a while in Belize and obviously knows his way around the backwaters and bedrooms of the country. This is a Michener-style saga, covering four decades in 400 pages.
The book kicks off in colonial British Honduras on the eve of Hurricane Hattie in 1961. After that explosive start, it tracks the fortunes of Ramón Kelley, an expat mahogany logger and Belize City businessman, and his two sons, Ray and Clive. Ray’s mother is an All-American Mom from Louisiana, and Clive’s mother is a brown-skinned Creole gyal.
Belize then takes the reader on a journey through Belize’s independence and growing pains and through the aging Ramón’s romances, Clive’s adolescent tribulations and Ray’s reluctant love affair with Belize. Along the way, we’re exposed to George Price and PUP politics, a wise Garifuna banker and evil drug lords. The settings in Belize, gritty and authentic, include San Ignacio, Ambergris Caye, Dangriga, Belize City and Corozal Town. The growth of tourism in Belize plays a role in the plot twists. A jungle lodge in the novel, Xtabay, bears some resemblance to Barry Bowen’s Chan Chich.
Miller has one of his characters, a disheveled lawyer doing business over drinks in the old Fort George Hotel, say to a teetotaling Ramón Kelley: “Few men can take this place sober, Ramón.”
This book does what you’d like a Belize guidebook to do: It gives you a sense of the air, the sea and the earth in the country. It also delivers what most guidebooks don’t — a feel for the real people of Belize, of all colors, sizes and backgrounds. Belize is Belize at a hot 98.6 degrees. So grab the Coppertone, the DEET spray and a rum and tonic, and settle in for few hours of sunshine and sin. —Reviewed by Lan Sluder
FOR FURTHER READING AND VIEWING
We have tried to make this one of the most comprehensive Belize bibliographies available. It includes some items that are now out of print, as well as some that are set for publication but have not yet been published. Previous editions of guidebooks, under the same or different names, may be noted briefly but are not detailed here. Reference books for academic audiences are only selectively included. We welcome additions to this bibliography.
Some of these titles are available from one of the following companies: Equator, 287 Beaverdam Road, Candler, NC 28715, fax 828-667-1717, e-mail bzefirst@aol. com, www.turq.com/equator;
Angelus Press, Belize City, tel. 501-2-35777, e-mail email@example.com, www.angeluspress.com;
Cubola Productions, 35 Elizabeth Street, Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize, tel. 501-9-32083, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.belizebusiness.com/cubola.
Coe, Michael D. The Maya, Thames and Hudson, 1993, 224 pp. First published in 1966, this is the best general introduction to the subject.
Coe, William R. Tikal, A Handbook of the Ancient Maya Ruins, University Museum at the University of Pennsylvania, 1967. Useful when touring Tikal.
Ferguson, William M. and Adams, R.E.W. Mesoamerica’s Ancient Cities: Aerial Views of Precolumbian Ruins in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras, University Press of Colorado, rev. ed., 2000, 272 pp.
Foster, Byron, Ed. Warlords and Maize Men, A Guide to the Maya Sites of Belize, Cubola Productions, Belize, 1992, 82 pp. The first popular guide focused entirely on Maya sites in Belize, by the late Dr. Foster. Maps, color photos.
Guderjan, Thomas H. Ancient Maya Traders of Ambergris Caye, Cubola Productions, 1993, 40 pp.
Henderson, John S. The World of the Ancient Maya, Cornell University Press, 1981, 271 pp.
Kelly, Joyce. An Archaeological Guide to Northern Central America: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, University of Oklahoma Press, rev. ed. 1996, 352 pp. Includes coverage of many smaller sites. Photographs by Jerry Kelly.
Thompson, J. Eric S. The Maya of Belize: Historical Chapters Since Columbus, Cubola Productions.
Calder, Nigel. The Cruising Guide to the Northwest Caribbean, International Marine/McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed., 1991, 262 pp. Navigational and anchorage information on the Caribbean Coast of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.
Rauscher, Freya. Cruising Guide to Belize and Mexico’s Caribbean Coast, 2nd ed., Wescott Cove Publishing, 1996, 304 pp. with 119 charts and 133 photos. Comprehensive cruising guide, the best available to this region. Includes general charts of Belize’s coast and Mexico’s Caribbean Coast.
British Admiralty Nautical Charts. Nautical charts for the coast of Belize.
General Chart of the Caribbean Coast of Mexico South to Ambergris Caye, Wescott Cove Publishing, 1996.
General Chart of the Coast of Belize from Ambergris Caye to Guatemala Border, Wescott Cove Publishing, 1996.
Burns, E. L. What’s Cooking in the Belizean Kitchen, Angelus Press, 74 pp.
Nord, Alice, Martinez, Myrna and Shrine, Kaaren. Cooking Belize, self-published, c. 1995, 126 pp.
Belize Hospital Auxiliary Cookbook, Angelus Press, 82 pp.
Belizeous Cuisine, Delicious Belizean Recipes, by Los Angeles Belizean Educational Network (LABEN), 1997, 102 pp.
Fiction, Drama and Poetry
Auxillou, Ray. Blue Hole, self-published, 479 pp. A collection of tales about mercenaries, drug runners and adventure. Other books in the same vein by Auxillou include Belize Secret Service and The Belize Vortex.
Edgell, Zee. Beka Lamb, Heinemann, 1982, 192 pp. Classic novel about ordinary life in British Honduras.
— In Times Like These, Heinemann, 320 pp. English-educated Belizean returns home.
Ellis, Zoila. On Heroes, Lizards and Passion, Seven Belizean Short Stories, Cubola Productions, Belize, 1994, 130 pp. “White Christmas an’ Pink Jungle” is one of seven deliciously Belizean stories, from a distinguished Belizean/Garifuna writer.
Esquivel, Cathy. Under the Shade, Angelus Press, 192 pp. Tales of the drug trade.
Hernandez, Felicia. Those Ridiculous Years, 64 pp. Short stories about Garifuna life.
Lindo, Louis. Tales of the Belizean Woods, Cubola Productions, 82 pp. Short stories set in backabush Belize.
McKay, Claudia. Twist of Lime, A Lynn Evans Mystery, New Victoria Publishers, 1997, 188 pp. Mystery featuring lesbian newspaper reporter on Maya dig in Belize.
Miller, Carlos Ledson. Belize, A Novel, Xlibris Corp., 1999, 402 pp. Fast-paced saga of father and sons over four decades, beginning with Hurricane Hattie in 1961.
Phillips, Michael D., Ed. Ping Wing Juk Me: Six Belizean Plays, Cubola Productions, 1996, 120 pp. Plays, ready to produce in schools, by Carol Fonseca Galvez, George Gabb, Evan X. Hyde, Glady Stuart, Shirley Warde and Colville Young.
— Snapshots of Belize: An Anthology of Short Fiction, Cubola Productions, 1995, 122 pp. Nine short stories by seven authors — Leo Bradley, Zoil Ellis, Evadne Garcia, Lawrence Vernon, Colville Young, Evan X. Hyde and John Walter. Designed for use in Belize schools.
Stevens, Katie Shea. The Church of the Day of Reckoning, P.O. Belize — A Novel, Minerva Press, 1998. Family moves to Belize to follow teachings the Reverend Tom Scanlon, founder of the Church of the Day of Reckoning. Eccentric, to say the least.
Ruiz Puga, David Nicolas. Old Benque, Cubola Productions, 160 pp. Short stories in Spanish.
Stray, P.J. The Danger on Lighthouse Reef, Silver Burdett Press, 1997, 144 pp. Children’s mystery story.
Theroux, Paul. The Mosquito Coast, Houghton-Mifflin, 1982. Obsessed American drags his family to Central America. Actually set in Honduras, not Belize, but the movie of the same name was filmed in Belize.
Westlake, Donald. High Adventure, Mysterious Press, 1985. Dope, dummies and deliverance in Belize, by popular adventure writer.
Young, Colville. Pataki Full, Cubola Productions, 120 pp. Collection of short stories by noted Belizean writer and scholar.
An Anthology of Belizean Folklore, Cubola Productions, 1999. Myths and folklore from Creole, Maya, Garifuna and other sources.
Of Words: An Anthology Of Belizean Poetry, Cubola Productions. A collection of poems by 35 poets including Raymond Barrow, Ronald Clark, Leo Bradley, Corinth Lewis, Richard Bradley and Yasser Musa.
Bradbury, Alex. Guide to Belize, Bradt, 2nd. ed., 1996, 224 pp.
Brosnahan, Tom et al. Guatemala, Belize & Yucatán, La Ruta Maya, Lonely Planet, 3rd. ed., 1997. 518 pp.
Cameron, Sarah and Box, Ben. Footprint Mexico and Central America Handbook, Passport, 10th ed., 2000, 1344 pp. Best multi-country guide to the region.
Eltringham, Peter. Belize, The Rough Guide, Rough Guides, 1999, 265 pp. Thoroughly researched guide by knowledgeable writer who has lived in Belize and Guatemala. New edition scheduled for publication in late 2000/early 2001.
— and Fisher, John and Stewart, Iain. The Maya World, Rough Guides/Penguin, 1999, 528 pp. Covers Maya sites in Southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Glassman, Paul. Belize Guide, Open Road Publishing, 8th ed., 2000, 327 pp. The author was one of the first travel writers to publish a guide to Belize.
Harris, Richard and Ritz, Stacy. The Maya Route, Ulysses Press, 1993, 411 pp.
Hatchwell, Emily and Calder, Simon. Travellers Central America Survival Kit, Vacation Work, 1991.
Hennessy, Huw, Ed. Belize Insight Guide, Langenscheidt Publishing Group, 3rd. ed., 2000, 328 pp. Unmatched photos and good general background on the country.
Hoffman, Eric. Adventuring in Belize, Sierra Club, 1994.
King, Emory. Driver’s Guide to Beautiful Belize, Tropical Books, 2000, 56 pp. Mile-by-mile guide to most roads in Belize. Updated annually.
Lougheed, Vivien. Central America by Chickenbus, Prince George, 1993, 504 pp. Budget guide includes chapter on Belize.
Mahler, Richard. Belize, Adventures in Nature, John Muir, 1997, 360 pp. Reliable source of eco-travel information.
Mallan, Chicki and Lange, Patti. Belize Handbook, Moon Publications/Avalon, 4th. ed., 1998, 328 pp. Favorite of many Belize travelers, with good maps and solid information. New edition scheduled for late 2000.
May, Antoinette. The Yucatan, Wide World Publishing, rev. ed., 1993, 325 pp. Mostly on Mexican Maya sites but contains chapter on Belize’s sites.
Meyer, Franz O. Lonely Planet Diving & Snorkeling Belize, Lonely Planet, 2nd. ed., 1998, 124 pp. Best diving and snorkel guide to Belize.
Middleton, Ned. Diving Belize, Aqua Quest Diving, 1994.
Norton, Natascha. Belize, Globe Pequot Press, 1997, 224 pp.
Pariser, Harry. Explore Belize, Hunter Books, 1998, 4th. ed., 366 pp. Comprehensive guide.
Ritz, Stacy. Hidden Belize, Ulysses Press, 1999, 246 pp. Sprightly written guide. Formerly published in a slightly different form as New Key to Belize.
Sluder, Lan. Belize Book of Lists 2000, Equator, 1999, 112 pp. Lists the 5 or 10 best in each category — jungle lodges, seaside resort hotels, beaches, etc.
— Belize First Guide to Mainland Belize, Equator, 2000, 288 pp. Focuses on the mainland of Belize.
— Belize First Guide to the Belize Cayes and Coast, Equator, 2001. Focuses on the islands and coastal beach areas of Belize.
Soldevila, Carlos. Belize, Ulysses Travel Publications (Montréal), 1998, 262 pp.
Whitman, John. The Best Mexican & Central America Travel Tips, Harper Perennial, 1994, 356 pp. Translated from Spanish.
Belize Country Study, International Business Publications, 1999, 150 pp. Overpriced collection of second-hand information.
Fodor’s Belize & Guatemala, Fodor’s Travel Publications/Random House, 2000, 174 pp. Belize section revised and updated by Lan Sluder.
Frommer’s Costa Rica & Belize on $35 a Day, Prentice-Hall Travel, 1997. A 2000 edition covers Costa Rica only.
Neos Guide, Guatemala Belize, Michelin Travel Publications, 2000, 382 pp. Beautifully illustrated and designed.
UpClose Central America, Fodor’s Travel Publications/Random House, 2000, 353 pp. Belize section updated and revised by Lan Sluder.
History and Culture
Barry, Tom with Vernon, Dylan. Inside Belize, Resource Center Press, 2nd. ed., 1995, 181 pp. Useful overview of history, politics, media, education, economy and the environment.
Bolland, O. Nigel. Colonialism and Resistance in Belize: Essays in Historical Sociology, Cubola Productions.
Cayetano, E. Roy. The People’s Garifuna Dictionary, Angelus Press, 82 pp. Work in progress —a dictionary of the Garifuna language.
Cayetano, Sebastian. Garifuna History, Language & Culture of Belize, Central America & the Caribbean, Angelus Press, 170 pp.
Ewing, Deborah, et al. Belize Country Review, 1999.
Foster, Byron. The Baymen’s Legacy, Cubola Productions, 2nd. ed., 1992, 83 pp. A history of Belize City.
— Heart Drum, Cubola Productions, 60 pp. A look at dagu and other aspects of Garifuna life.
King, Emory. Diary of St. George’s Caye, Tropical Books, 32 pp.
— The Great Story of Belize, Volume 1, Tropical Books, 1999, 53 pp. The first in a planned four-volume set, this volume covers the history of Belize from 1511 when the first Europeans arrive until 1798, when the Baymen won the battle of St. George’s Caye.
— The Great Story of Belize, Volume 2, Tropical Books, 1999, 87 pp. Volume 2 tells the history of Belize from 1800 to 1850, the period which shaped Belize’s history for generations to come.
— The Little World of Danny Vasquez, Tropical Books, 116 pp. Tales of Old San Pedro.
— 1798 The Road to Glory, Tropical Books, 1991, 348 pp. Fictionalized and somewhat glorified account of the Battle of St. George Caye’s.
Koop, Gerhard S. Pioneer Years In Belize, Angelus Press, 144 pp. History of the Mennonites in Mexico and Belize.
Leslie, Robert, Ed. A History of Belize: Nation in the Making, Cubola Productions, rev. ed., 1995, 125 pp. First published in 1983, this history of Belize is written for Belize schoolchildren.
Merrill, Tim. Guyana and Belize Country Studies, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 2nd. ed., 1993, 408 pp. One in the Area Handbook series sponsored by the U.S. Army; nevertheless, the historical, cultural and economic information is first-rate.
Peedle, Ian. Belize, A Guide to the People, Politics and Culture, Interlink Books, 1999, 100 pp. Tries to cover everything in a small volume, and fails.
Shoman, Assad. Thirteen Chapters of a History of Belize, Angelus Press, 1994, 297 pp. Somewhat left-wing interpretation of Belize history.
Sutherland, Anne. The Making of Belize, Globalization in the Margins, Bergin & Garvey, 1998, 202 pp. An American university professor with long family ties to Belize looks at “postmodern” Belize.
— Caye Caulker: Economic Success in a Belizean Fishing Village, 1986.
Waddell, D.A.G. British Honduras, A Historical and Contemporary Survey, Greenwood Press, 1961, reprinted 1981, 151 pp. An academic history.
Young, Colville. Creole Proverbs of Belize, Cubola Productions, 44 pp.
Maya Atlas: The Struggle to Preserve Maya Land in Southern Belize, compiled by the Maya People of Southern Belize, Toledo Maya Cultural Council, 1997.
Living in Belize
Gallo, Roger. Escape from America, Manhattan Loft Publishing, 1997, 352 pp. Devoted to living/retiring abroad. Includes chapters on Belize.
Gray, Bill and Gray, Claire (pseudonyms). Belize Retirement Guide, Preview Publishing, 4th ed., 1999, 140 pp. Best-selling guide to “living in a tropical paradise for $450.”
King, Emory. “Hey, Dad, This Is Belize,” Tropical Books, Belize, 4th printing, 114 pp. Collection of vignettes about Belize and Belizeans. Originally appeared in the Belize Times and other publications.
— How to Visit, Invest or Retire in Belize, Tropical Books, 1989, 32 pp. Early booklet on the subject, still being sold at about US$1 a page.
— “I Spent It All In Belize,” Tropical Books, 194 pp. More sketches of Belizean life.
Sluder, Lan. Live Well in Belize, Avalon, 2001, c. 256 pp. How to relocate or retire to Belize and increase your standard of living and quality of life.
Belize Business Law Handbook, Emerging Markets Investment Center, 1998. Overpriced compilation of second-hand materials.
Conroy, Richard Timothy. Our Man in Belize, St. Martin’s, 1997, 324 pp. Fascinating, readable memoir of life in former British Honduras in the late 1950s and early 60s.
Ames, Oakes and Correll, Donovan Stewart. Orchids of Guatemala and Belize, Dover Publications, 1985, 779 pp. with 204 black-and-white illustrations. Republication of Chicago Natural History Museum 1953 field guide and 1965 supplement. Exhaustive, covering 527 species.
Arvigo, Rosita and Balick, Michael. Rainforest Remedies, One Hundred Healing Herbs of Belize, Lotus Press, 1993, 221 pp. Guide to traditional Mayan/Belizean herbal remedies. New edition set for publication in mid-2001.
Arvigo, Rosita with Epstein, Nadine and Yaquinto, Marilyn. Sastun, My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer, HarperSanFrancisco, 1994, 190 pp. Story of Arvigo’s time with Don Elijio Panti.
Beletsky, Les. The Ecotravellers’ Wildlife Guide, Belize and Northern Guatemala, Natural World Academic Press, 1999, 488 pp. Lavishly color-illustrated guide, oriented to the amateur, to the most commonly spotted mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and corals.
Campbell, Jonathan A. Amphibians and Reptiles of Northern Guatemala, the Yucatán, and Belize, University of Oklahoma Press, 1998, 380 pp., with 176 color photographs. The best guide to herpetofauna of the region.
Emmons, Katherine. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary: Its History, Flora and Fauna for Visitors, Teachers and Scientists, Community Conservation Consultants, 1996. Definitive on the subject.
Greenfield, David W. and Thomerson, Jamie E. Fishes of the Continental Waters of Belize, University Press of Florida, 1997, 311 pp. Comprehensive guide, with black-and-white illustrations.
Edwards, Ernest Preston, illustrated by Butler, E.M. A Field Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Adjacent Areas: Belize, Guatemala, and El Salvador, University of Texas Press, 1998, 288 pp. This is used by many local guides in Belize.
Horwich, Robert H. A Belizean Rain Forest, 432 pp. A look at the Community Baboon Sanctuary and the northern forests of Belize.
LaBastille, A. Birds of the Mayas, West of the Winds Publications, 1993.
Lee, Julian. A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of the Maya World: The Lowlands of Mexico, Northern Guatemala and Belize, Cornell University Press, 2000, 488 pp.
Matola, Sharon. Birds of Belize, A Field Handbook, Belize Zoo, 28 pp.
-- Hoodwink the Owl, 40 pp. Children’s ecostory by the founder of the Belize Zoo.
Meyer, John R. and Foster, Carol Farneti. A Guide to the Frogs and Toads of Belize, Krieger Publishing, 1996.
Miller, Carolyn M. and Miller, Bruce W. Exploring the Tropical Forest at Chan Chich Lodge Belize, Wildlife Conservation Society, 2nd. ed., 1994, 51 pp.
Peterson, Roger Tory. A Field Guide to Mexican Birds: Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador Peterson Field Guides/Houghton-Mifflin, 1999. The birder’s pal, though it lacks Spanish names of birds.
Rabinowitz, Alan. Jaguar, Arbor House, 1986, 368 pp. Story of effort to establish the Cockscomb Preserve.
Stevens, Kate. Jungle Walk. Birds and animals of Belize, with many illustrations.
Woods, R.L., Reid, S.T. and Reid, A.M. The Field Guide to Ambergris Caye. Near-exhaustive study of the island and surrounding sea.
Snakes of Belize, Belize Audubon Society, 55 pp.
Canby, Peter. Heart of the Sky -- Travels Among the Maya, HarperCollins.
Chaplin, Gordon. The Fever Coast Log, Simon & Schuster, 1992, 229 pp. Couple sets sail aboard the Lord Jim to sail the Caribbean Coast. You know it’s all going to end badly.
Davis, Richard Harding. Three Gringos in Venezuela and Central America, Harper & Brothers, 1896. Early travelogue begins in British Honduras.
Huxley, Aldous. Beyond the Mexique Bay, Greenwood, 1975. First published in 1934, this book by the author of Brave New World holds the record for the most-quoted comment on British Honduras: “... if the world had any ends, British Honduras would surely be one of them.”
Parker, Franklin, Ed. Travels in Central America 1821-1840, University of Florida Press, 1970.
Pride, Nigel. A Butterfly Sings to Pacaya, Constable. A 1970s trip through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.
Roberts, Orlando W. Voyages and Excursions on the East Coast and in the Interior of Central America, University of Florida Press, reprint 1965 (originally published in 1827).
Straughan, Robert P. Adventure in Belize, A.S. Barnes & Co., 1975, 215 pp. Explorations in Belize, by a pet store and tropical fish store owner.
Stephens, John L. Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan, Harper and Brothers, 1841. The great classic of early Central American travel books.
Wright, Ronald. Time Among the Maya: Travels in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico, Henry Holt, reprint 1991, 451 pp. A modern classic.
Maps and Atlases
Atlas of Belize, Cubola Productions, 20th ed., 1995, 32 pp. with 11 maps and 80 photographs. Prepared for use in schools.
Belize Traveller’s Map, ITMB, 1998. The best general map of Belize.
Map of Belize, Macmillan. Wall map with laminated coating.
British Ordnance Survey, Topographical Map of Belize, 1991. Two sheets, with maps of Belize City and towns on reverse. 1:250,000-scale.
British Ordnance Survey, Area Topographical Maps, various dates, 1970s-1990s. Country is divided into 44 sections, each 1:50,000-scale.
Anyplace Wild: Jungle Hiking in Belize, by PBS Home Video, 60 minutes.
Belize, A Little Piece of Paradise, by Bill and Claire Gray, 2000. Interviews with expats who have retired to Belize. 45 minutes.
Belize: The Sea, The Land, The People by Naturalight Productions. Overview of Belize in 30 minutes.
Best of Belize All Over, Volume 1 and 2, by Great Belize Productions. Collections of Channel 5 television shows from 1987-1989.
Land of Belize by Great Belize Productions. Host Therese Rath guides an ecological and geographic tour.
Maya Heritage by Great Belize Productions. Host Froyla Salam looks back at Belize history from Maya times to the arrival of the first Europeans.
National Geographic’s Tropical Kingdom of Belize, 1996. Re-released as Belize, A Tropical Kingdom by Questar Video, 1998, 59 minutes. Mostly devoted to land and sea animals of Belize. Slick, but not one of National Geographic’s best efforts. Narrator mispronounces “caye.”
Samples of Belize & Tikal, a Video Tour, by Del and Pat Trobak, 1998. Covers about 20 areas of Belize, plus Tikal.
Sea of Belize by Great Belize Productions. A look at the barrier reef and Caribbean Sea.