In very different parts of the world, evidence exists of a common legacy – shared by cultures separated by hundreds, sometimes thousands of years. From Mexico to Iceland, Cambodia to Easter Island, China to Egypt, we are finding a common astronomical wisdom handed down from a time before history, a time perhaps before the ‘Great Flood’. A common wisdom from a lost civilisation which might hold the key to our own identity on earth.
This was one of the first ‘substantial’ books I read, at the time – if you can imagine – I was clean-cut, impressionable, curious to the max and a lot less critical than I am now.
Back in the day before TV dumbed itself down to the level we see now, the documentaries used to be of a high standard, none of this repeating what you’ve already seen and showing us what is coming up in the next bit of the programme, just an hours worth of solid show. These days people in TV assume we are all imbeciles and we need help remembering the previous fifteen minutes worth of docu-fluff. It’s no surprise that TV figures are tanking and long may it last, until the message gets through. Anyway getting back to the subject at hand, at the end of each episode of the documentary series there would be a plug for the book that accompanied it and this was my cue to not watch the show again in favour of going to buy the book the next day.
Besides we all know that the book contains more than the shows can squeeze in and is of greater depth. It’s hard to believe that a 340 odd page book, complete with many lavish photos took me four weeks to get through but it did and as I flick through the book now, still with that new smell, it brings back a lot of nostalgia as well as confirming how much I have moved in my reading tastes and my understanding of the world. It is an odd feeling to be revisiting the genesis of my book buying days, it seems a fair distance back I can tell you.
Books like this, pseudohistory in genre have a very romantic air about them in the theories on show, a lot of Hancock’s arguments go against traditional ideas and would require some significant rewriting of established and accepted history if proved correct. Some ideas are intriguing and deserve a forum for further discussion, the discussions of civilisation(s) at least 10,000 years ago are intoxicating and tantalising to say the least.
The abundant and grand photos taken by Hancock’s wife Santha Faiia really do bring a wonder to the historical places involved and these diverse settings are a well-known bunch. There is lots of scope to such places that include the familiar and scenic places like Easter Island, The Angkor Complex, Tiahuanaco and the Giza Plateau. It does, like any conspiracy theory give nods to all the usual suspects entrenched in such lore thankfully the Templars were avoided this time around though.
the evidence is a little wayward in places and noticeably selective. Some of the leaps of faith and interesting interpretations of information are – oddly – part of the fun, looking back now I do get a giggle out of some of the proposed ideas. The main problem with the book seems to be the ignoring of evidence that doesn’t fit with Hancock’s theories, it makes for an entertaining read nonetheless but time and time again it doesn’t stand up against the established evidence.
It’s like hunting for gold in sand, every so often there is a niggling question not answered by historians and this lends the book an air of intrigue, unfortunately the more there is a lot of ideas which can be dismissed. The tone of the book comes uneven and these days I may have trouble finishing it at all.
I do remember those Autumn days reading and learning about the precession of the stars and other things which have stood me in good stead and allowed my curiosity take flight. This is a gentle read for the dreamers amongst you but when all is said and done, it is dubious, even if it does lend the book an air of intrigue purely because we still don’t know all the answers. We like to think of our past in the most dramatic of terms, we are human and have Hollywood, there really is no excuse and this book does straddle the grey area between truth and fantasy, the real mysteries and the absurd. It’s great coffee table book to get conversations going if that is your way and if it is, I shall pop around shortly.