Alexander von Humboldt’s work on on biology, botany, geology, and meteorology deservedly earned him the reputation as the world’s most illustrious scientist before Charles Darwin. Humboldt’s breath-taking explorations of Mexico and South America from 1799 to 1804 are akin to Europe’s second, scientific “discovery” of the New World. His Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain is a foundational document about Mexico and its cultures and is still widely consulted by anthropologists, geographers, and historians. rnrnMyron Echenberg presents a straightforward guide with historical and cultural context to Humboldt’s travels in Mexico. Humboldt packed a lifetime of scientific studies into one daunting year, and soon after published a four-volume account of his findings. His adventures range widely from inspections of colonial silver mines and hikes to the summits of volcanoes to meticulous examination of secret Spanish colonial archives in Mexico City and scientific discussions of archaeological sites of pre-Hispanic Indigenous cultures.