Top positive review
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Entertaining, yet he jumps to conclusions too easily
on July 24, 2002
I read Chariots of the Gods as well as several other Von Daniken works, and he never ceases to entertain me (with the exception of Miracles of the Gods - a horrid, poorly executed book). I find his "theories" thought-provoking, yet very weak at their base. Mr. Von Daniken has an irritating habit of jumping from subject to subject, stating his opinions quickly and with little supporting evidence, and then suddenly switching to another "mystery" to start the cycle over again. Even though he makes many compelling points, he never stays on the same subject long enough to fully support his beliefs.
If a golden amulet looks like a modern airplane, then it's an airplane. Period. If a stone carving looks like an astronaut, then it's an astronaut. Period. If a straight line drawn in the sand extends for the length of a modern runway, then it's a runway. Period. And this same style has gone on and on for years and through several books, with more on the way.
I take everything he says with a grain of salt. He is sooo quick to jump to (seemingly) reasonable conclusions that I can't help but be intrigued... but obviously I can't even call that he does "theorizing" since he never spends enough time on one piece of evidence to complete his arguments.
I look at his work as a starting point, rather than a finished product. If someone takes one of his ideas and runs with it, gathering collaborating evidence and building a more air-tight case for the "solution" presented in his works, then in my opinion Von Daniken has done his job. Unfortunately, I can't be sure Von Daniken shares this opinion. I think he raises important questions, yet his answers are too quick off the mark and ultimately unsatisfying to the discriminating reader.
I much prefer the approach taken by Graham Hancock, for example, who normally stays much more conservative. Hancock presents compelling arguments supported by many different pieces of evidence, and will not insult the reader by leaping to his conclusions based upon a single painting or pottery shard. Anyone interested in "alternative" (for lack of a better word) history would do well to pick up Hancock's "Fingerprints of the Gods" for a better-realized examination of ancient mysteries.
I still find Von Daniken immensely entertaining, though. Call it a guilty pleasure. I would never be able to defend his ideas during an in-depth discussion of them, and I honestly don't believe Von Daniken would be able to either. I give this book 5 stars for being a lot of FUN and a closet masterpiece.