Menzies, a former sailor in the British Royal Navy, has carved a lucrative literary career by seizing upon a few tantalizing facts and then making gigantic leaps to unwarranted conclusions. Previously he has asserted that a Chinese admiral “discovered” America and sparked the Renaissance by visiting Italy. In the process, of course, he has infuriated professional historians. Here Menzies turns his attention to the ancient Mediterannean and the Minoan civilization that flourished on the island of Crete in the second millennium B.C. Again using the flimsiest of evidence, he asserts that this Bronze Age, highly localized culture was linked to the mythical “lost continent” of Atlantis, which was at the center of an immense global trading empire extending north to Britain and west to North America. Still, this will be a fun book for some. It includes brave, adventurous mariners and a dramatic natural disaster (probably the most accurate of Menzies’ claims). As a wild piece of historical speculation, this is enjoyable, but it is closer to science fiction than real history. --Jay Freeman
“MENZIES [IS] PROPOUNDING ONE OF THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS IN THE HISTORY OF HISTORY.” (New York Times Magazine)
“A DISTINGUISHED HISTORIAN.” (BBC World Service)
“A HISTORICAL DETECTIVE, AS WELL AS A SCHOLAR, [WHO] ADDS TO OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD, PAST AND PRESENT.” (New York Daily News)
“ASTOUNDING . . . MENZIES SHOULD GET THE NOBEL AND PULITZER PRIZES FOR HIS WORK. WALK ALONG THE PATHWAYS OF DISCOVERY WITH HIM. IT IS A JOYOUS JAUNT.” (San Bernadino Sun)
“I WANT TO CONGRATULATE GAVIN MENZIES ON A REMARKABLE JOB OF RESEARCH … A CONVINCING CASE FOR THE ORIGIN OF THE ATLANTIS MYTH … I RECOMMEND THE LOST EMPIRE OF ATLANTIS.
” (Betty Meggers, Director of the Latin American Archaeology Program at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History)