The volume is dedicated to the Olmec and the Maya, the two main Mesoamerican civilizations that developed in thetropical regions, the green heart of the southeast. The sequence of the chapters allows readers to follow the culturaldevelopment of the tropical regions in chronological order, commencing with the Olmec chiefdoms; it then moves onto investigate the extraordinary development of the Maya city states of the Classic Period, which represent the artistictreasures of the southern forests. General themes such as art, religion, ball playing, writing and calendars are discussedin the text, thus varying and lightening its strictly historical and chronological approach. Written for non-specialistreaders, the book uses clear and easily understandable language. It presents the Olmec and Maya civilizationsin the light of the most recent discoveries and interpretations, striving to counter the perpetuation of old clichsthat, even now, hinder a full understanding of the dynamic cultural and political events of these distant lands.