"With a great deal of humor and a polished writing style, Greer recounts end-time prophecies from our past, many familiar, most obscure."
"John Michael Greer bookends Apocalypse Not with the supposed Mayan prophecy, how the date was calculated and what, according to an assortment of New Age prophets, it is supposed to mean. He is able to debunk it very easily and very thoroughly. In the complex Mayan calendar there is one reference to the date equivalent to December 21, 2012 and no clear prophecy on what's supposed to happen on that day. But the clincher is that there are many hundreds of Mayan inscriptions referring to other dates—and "a fair number of them...look forward to dates well after 2012.""
"Greer has a gift for taking complex concepts and making them accessible, clearly explaining ten centuries of apocalyptic thinking in 178 pages that despite the serious subject matter are laugh-out-loud funny in spots."
—Third Floor with Water View
"Apocalypse Not is a rich history of the “apocalypse meme,” the idea that some great world-ending event is going to occur, destroying the wicked and saving the elect and the worthy. I’ve written extensively on this myself in various essays and books. It’s an idea that goes back nearly 4000 years and has embedded itself deeply in Western civilization, showing up yet again most recently in the predictions surrounding December 21, 2012. To my mind it’s a pernicious idea, doing more harm than good, but it’s also a seductive notion. In this very readable but extensively researched book, John Michael traces the whole history of this meme and its effect upon the Western mind. As we move through this “apocalyptic” year, I wish this book could be read by everyone and anyone who believes doom will soon be upon us or has to deal with those who feel that way—or who would just like to understand some of the history of ideas that have shaped our culture."
—David Spangler, author of Everyday Miracles
"Archdruid Greer carefully describes the “apocalypse meme” and relates its sad history since its origins in Persian Zoroastrianism 5,000 years ago.A meme is an idea or set of ideas which is transmitted from person to person until it becomes widespread and persists through time. It follows the same natural laws as biological evolution, as might be expected, since the concept was invented by Richard Dawkins, the current high priest of natural selection.In this case, the meme is the story of a conflict between the forces of good and evil, the end of the world as we know it, and the beginning of a better, ideal world of the future. This story is endlessly repeated in tales of Ahura-Mazda, the Norse Ragnarok, End Times prophecies, Armageddon, the books of Daniel and Revelation, the Messiah, the Rapture, atomic war with UFOs rescuing the faithful, the defeat of Sauron, the Age of Aquarius, the communist revolution of 1917, ad infinitum, and, of course, the famous Mayan prophecy at the end of their current calendrical cycle on December 21, 2012. One thing that all of these hundreds of end-of-the-world prophecies have in common is blood (“the first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers”), hence the undesirability of what may seem to be a harmless fad. Another thing is that, up until now, they have all failed to come true. One hundred percent. The book is an absorbing and entertaining read."
"Greer’s easy-to-read writing style, the list of resources he includes, and even the structure of the book persuaded me that his perspective on apocalypse is worth considering as an introduction to the topic."
"This sweeping survey of apocalyptic thought during the last three and a half millennia is written with erudition and sprinkled with humor. John Michael Greer seamlessly weaves the threads of religious/mystical and secular/revolutionary apocalyptism—from the most well-known exemplars to the delightfully obscure. I am confident this notable work will be around long after winter solstice 2012, continuing to serve the reader with its important explication of this critical subject and pointing the way to associated literature for further study"
—James Wasserman, author of The Temple of Solomon: From Ancient Israel to Secret Societies
"Apocalypse Not is a riotous romp through the history of the human imagination. Mr. Greer takes us around the world and across millennia, from sacred to secular, to bring us this tribute to the limitless creativity and tenacious desires of the human heart despite all odds.The book delightfully details our inherent human need to seek a utopian world, available only to the worthy by a trial that makes it worthwhile. He proves it’s not the Armageddon that draws us to embrace the idea of a pending Apocalypse, but the dream of the paradise that lies beyond. Reading this book will make you laugh at human folly and cry at its consequences, along with some of the most colorful figures in history.
—Jeff Hoke, author of The Museum of Lost Wonder
"Apocalypse NOT! It was very important that somebody took on this faux religious madness, this yearning for the death of our planet. Hooray for John Michael Greer for skewering the lot of them on his ascerbic pen! From the artificial counting of the dates of the end of the world, to the last big bout of robbing people of their money, hopes, and religious beliefs, Greer tracks this male madness faithfully. This seems to be a very American obsession, the end of days, profitable to those who spread it, a doom to those who drink their Kool Aid."
- Z Budapest, author of Celestial Wisdom and The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries
"The perfect hangover cure for the day before the day after the day the world didn't end."
—Lon Milo DuQuette, author of The Key to Solomon's Key
"If peddling flesh is the world's oldest profession, John Michael Greer makes a good case that peddling fear's not too far behind. Apocalypse Not lucidly spells out how social upheaval- as well as plain old boredom and frustration- have always inspired fantasies of The Great Reboot, when lions will lay down with lambs, streets will be paved with gold and lowly stockboys will become lofty CEOs. This book explains the how's and why's of such grand fantasies throughout history and how often they seem to come to grief. Armageddon through to you?"
- Christopher Knowles Our Gods Wear Spandex, and The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll
"Look no further than Apocalypse Not for your explanation of 2012 end times, Apocalypse memes, starlore and pseudo-philosophers in man's rich history of end-of-the-world obsessions."
—Nick Belardes, author of Random Obsessions
"Apocalypse Not breaks open the doomsday clock, revealing all its cogs and inner workings. The end isn't near: It's Greer."
—Clint Marsh, author of The Mentalist's Handbook
From the Back Cover
Three Thousand Years of End of Times (That Never Happened)
New Agers count off the days until the Mayan calendar ends in 2012. Evangelical Christians look for the Antichrist and long for the Rapture. Extropians dream of the Singularity, when super-intelligent computers will abolish all human limits to progress. Doomers stockpile freeze-dried food as they wait for civilization to crash and burn. Why are we waiting for Armageddon?
Almost since the beginning of civilization, an insatiable willingness to believe has driven people to dream of the apocalypse that will replace the world they've got with the one they've always wanted. All of these predictions have one thing in common: every one of them has been wrong.
From brilliant seers and religious visionaries to conspiracy theorists and fundamentalists, Apocalypse Not exposes prophecies of doom, including:
•The Biblical prophets whose successful predictions have been ignored for two thousand years
•The failed end time prophesies of Nostradamus, Mother Shipton and other visionaries
•The tangled interconnections between end time beliefs and the UFO phenomenon
•The real origins of the belief in apocalypse in 2012 (hint: it's not actually Mayan at all)