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Book Review of: Evidence of the Gods
A Visual Tour of Alien Influence in the Ancient World
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Evidence of the Gods, by Erich von Daniken (Softcover. Copyright 2012; released in 2011)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)
Even after writing more than 30 books on pretty much the same topic, Erich von Daniken has produced yet another one that's entertaining, well-written, and informative book from Erich von Daniken.
The usual elements of witty writing, intense research, details, minutiae, logical analysis, and questioning of orthodoxy are all present.
In this book, von Daniken seems to take it easy on archaeologists for a change, but he still produces some commentary that they are unlikely to ever take as glowing praise.
In Evidence, the title of the book clues us in as to what his book will present. But it doesn't quite tell us. The subtitle does that by saying it's a visual tour. This book contains 150 photographs in vivid color. Nearly all of these have a level of clarity and composition that is in the domain of professional photographers. If you're expecting some murky photos that show evidence if you take LSD and then hold them up to the light just right, you won't find those here.
Not only do you see the photos with their crystal clear details, but from von Daniken's accompanying narrative you get the context and some comparative information. Great stuff!
Of course it does seem awfully odd that thousands of years after the alleged aliens visited Earth, today our "advanced" society appears to have no contact with them. Wouldn't these folks now be widely known to us and out in the open? That's a good question, but think about what humans have demonstrated about ourselves. If you were a member of an alien civilization (or any actual civilization, for that matter), would you feel safe among us? Any advanced form of life would steer clear of humans, preferring to study us incognito than to become the focus of our attention. Rejecting extraterrestrial alien visitors out of hand is an irrational, intellectually dishonest response.
So there isn't a prima facie case that von Daniken's chosen field of study is pseudoscience. In fact, much of the opposition to specific conclusions of his defy logic. Take, for example, the Atacama Giant. Allegedly, this is a hoax created for (pick your reason). But the logistics of creating this and other huge images in the desert are so daunting as to require something akin to military mobilization. By very, very dedicated individuals with amazing physical fortitude, vehicles that don't leave tracks, and a level of discipline that has yet to be found amongst hoaxsters.
Of course, it is possible that a well-financed group of super-soldiers somehow managed to create the Atacama Giant without being seen in town or traveling out there, and their vehicles had an advanced tires that don't leave tracks. It's also possible that the US 1040 income tax code makes sense to someone somewhere on the planet.
Back in the real world, we need to look at more plausible causes. Again, rejecting extraterrestrial alien visitors out of hand is an irrational, intellectually dishonest response. Since it's pretty clear that today's humans lack the technology and several other requirements for creating this and other images without leaving a trace of their presence, who else might have the technology? A band of chimpanzees?
In this book, you will see quite a few historical anomalies brilliantly photographed and brilliantly examined. With each one, you also get some background information. Often, that includes an observation of a meta pattern formed by similar anomalies. In many cases, the examination goes into the precision of the work it took to create the anomaly. In all of these cases, it doesn't seem possible that modern humans made the thing. So how did it come into being?
Well, we know members of CONgress didn't make these images. The only thing they have shown any ability to create is debt (ours, not theirs). We could move up on the IQ scale to that band of chimpanzees theory, that doesn't work either.
And what about the content of these images? The detail doesn't leave one speculating that, hey, if you let your eyes go out of focus you can just about imagine this looks like maybe a flying machine or that looks like maybe a space suit. Instead, the detail leaves one speculating, hey, if this isn't a flying machine or that isn't a space suit, what the heck else could is possibly be? And then when you realize you're looking at an image that's thousands of years old the space alien theory looks amazingly sound.
There may be another explanation, but we are still waiting for one that can pass the smell test. In the meantime, von Daniken continues to entertain, dazzle, and inform his readers. And we are many; his books have sold over 65 million copies.
This book spans 202 pages of content, including a photo that faces the first page on which the book itself begins. In addition, it has a short Author's Note, Table of Contents, references, index, and About the Author. It consists of three chapters; each is divided into 9, 13, and 11 sections respectively.
An extract from my review of Twilight of the Gods:
Yes, von Daniken is controversial. That does make his books entertaining. But that isn't their only value. He also raises questions that are impossible to answer via our current "book of knowledge." His "alternative" explanation, namely extraterrestrials, becomes the only sensible explanation almost by default.
While von Daniken does not always get his facts right, there is a fact that is yet again proven by this book. The purchase of a von Daniken book is never a waste of money.
These comments from my review of Twilight of the Gods and Odyssey of the Gods apply also to Evidence of the Gods:
His iconic book, Chariot of the Gods, not only fueled a counterculture but also became a hit in the main culture. Even after some three dozen books, Erich von Daniken continues to enrapt readers with his provocative thinking, irrefutable evidence, and clear logic. Plus some anomalies that have astute readers grimacing....
Whether his information and conclusions are correct is almost irrelevant to many readers (count me in that group). His books are always worth reading, because they are a pleasure to read. Even with so many books under his belt, von Daniken has written yet another jewel.
About these reviews
You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?
I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?
And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.
This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.
My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.
A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.
About your reviewer
About reading style
No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.
Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.