In a framework different from the other two Bierhorst mythology volumes, the Mexico and Central American volume provides complete translations of 20 'basic myths' of this region and shows how they have influenced the artistic, literary, and political life of modern Mesoamerica. Bierhorst introduces readers to myths from the Aztec and Maya of pre-Columbian times to the Indian groups that survive today. In a new afterword, Bierhorst discusses how in the late 1980s and 1990s, native mythology has been recast to shed light on themes placed in the foreground of publicconsciousness - democracy, cultural pluralism, religious freedom and environmentalism. Mythology energizes native politics from the high-profile political activisim of the Zapotec Indians against the World Trade Organization to the Nobel Prize winning Quiche Maya activist Rigoberta Menchu. Effortsto demystify the region's mythology include the criticism and investigation of the legend of Juan Diego and the ever-popular Virgin of Guadeloupe. The book includes a glossary, pronunciation guide, notes, bibliography, index, maps. and photos.