The Blue Guide to Jordan, by Sue Rollin and Jane Streetly, WW Norton and Company, Third Edition (1991) or later. This useful and informative guidebook includes detailed itineraries, site descriptions, and background information.
Jordan Past & Present: Petra, Jerash, Amman,
by E. Borgia, Oxford University Press, 2003. Like other books in the
"Past and Present" series, this book cleverly presents photographs
of archaeological structures, as they appear today,
overlaid by color transparencies that show how they might have looked
in the past. This is a helpful, and often revelatory, aid
that can greatly enhance the visitor's experience.
Jordan: Treasures from an Ancient Land: The Art of Jordan, by Piotr Bienkowski (ed.), Alan Sutton Publishing, 1991. Published in connection with a 1991 exhibition in Liverpool, this useful and well-illustrated book includes chapter-length
articles on ancient Jordanian sculpture, pottery, mosaics, and other media such as faience and copper.
The Mosaics of Jordan, by Michele Piccirillo, American Center for Oriental Research (ACOR), Amman, 1993. Among the glories of Jordan are its profusion of Byzantine church floor mosaics,
which are impressively documented in this volume. Due to its high cost, the book will appeal more to specialists and enthusiasts than to the general reader.
Petra: Lost City of the Ancient World, by Christian Auge and Jean-Marie Dentzer, Harry N. Abrams, 2000. Like other entries in the publisher's "Discoveries" series, this slender paperback compresses a lot of information and photos into a small amount (127pp, 5"x7") of space. It's perfect for slipping into one's backpack when visiting Petra, and useful afterwards as a concise reference to the site.
Petra and the Lost Kingdom of the Nabataeans, by Jane
Taylor, Harvard University Press, 2002. This first-rate survey
of the Nabatean kingdom includes their political and cultural
history, religion, writing, and capital city of Petra.
Taylor's book, fully illustrated in color and informed by an
expert's knowledge and love of her subject, is a great introduction to the Nabateans and their fascinating civilization.
Petra Rediscovered: Lost City of the Nabataeans, by Glenn Markoe (Ed.), Harry N. Abrams, 2003. This book accompanies the traveling museum exhibit of the same name. It's not a catalogue of the exhibit, but rather a well-illustrated collection of chapter-length
topical essays by scholars in their respective fields. More suitable for the enthusiast than for the beginner, it
provides an overview of current research, and an introduction to the professional literature.
Rome in the East: The transformation of an empire, by Warwick Ball, routledge, 2000. This book-length study of the Roman Near East offers some scattered Nabatean material in an overall context of Roman-Eastern interaction from Egypt to India.