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Book Review of: Lost Civilizations & Secrets of The Past
Exposed, Uncovered, and Declassified
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Lost Civilizations, by Michael Pye and Kirsten Dalley (Softcover, 2011)|
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This book is a collection of 15 original essays by 16 "unofficial" archaeologists (see list at end of this review). I've read works by several of these authors, previously. The basic premise behind their works is that official archaeologists (and those in related disciplines) have some explaining to do. Officialdom simply dismisses some evidence out of hand, causing a distortion in the official historical record.
Now to be fair to the archeologists, some of the "evidence" is poor and some of the conclusions reached by "alternative" researchers simply do not hold up. Both camps make good points. But there is a strong "Not invented here" streak in the orthodoxy, and I think that's because it's uncomfortable to change established views in light of new evidence or, for that matter, old evidence.
The main value of this book is the curious reader can read the views of 16 leading "alternative" researchers without having to read 16 books. That said, I find only a few of these authors to be tedious (the presented essays, however, are not tedious; I am referring to reading book length works). Others, such as Erich von Daniken, are always a good read.
This work covers a wide range of subjects, from the pyramids to archeological scandals. One author even covers the idea of ancient nuclear weapons and raises some very hard to answer questions from the evidence.
In this book, Philip Coppens provides his theories on Atlantis. I've read (and enjoyed) Coppens before, and respect his work and his attitude toward examining the unexplained. His take on Atlantis is the first one that ever made sense to me. Normally, I will not read anything on Atlantis because of how poorly that's been done by others. When I saw Coppens' name on this piece, I read it and was duly impressed.
You may not agree with the conclusions some of these authors reach. I know I don't. But agreement isn't a necessary element for enjoying a discussion now, is it? It's also probable that you've always suspected a particular conclusion in the orthodoxy does not pass the smell test, and one (or more) of these essays will strike a chord with you. I know that's the case with me.
If you're tired of the same old weather, sports, politics topics that dominate what pass for "conversations" today, consider buying a couple of copies of this book to circulate among your friends. Then get together for a lively discussion of the implications of, for example, what Scott Alan Roberts was talking about in his essay. That kind of intellectual stimulation has many benefits including, researchers tell us, a degree of protection from dementia.
The fifteen essays take up 233 pages. They are edited, but the author's personality and style come through. The book is indexed, which pleasantly surprised me. I've decided not to include, in this review, biographical information on the authors. The book has this information, (9 pages).
The contributing authors/essayists:
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.