From Publishers Weekly
Already a huge success in England, this lengthy and at times quite academic study extends the basic argument of Hancock's 1994 Fingerprints of the Gods, a wild combination of astronomy, archeology, geology and folk myth whose worldwide success made Hancock perhaps the most popular proponent of "alternative history" as well as a publishing phenomenon. Hancock's basic thesis is simple: although mainstream scholars refuse to believe it, there once was "a lost civilization destroyed in the cataclysmic global floods that brought the last Ice Age to an end," and the survivors passed on their knowledge to the newer ancient civilizations with which we are more familiar. The search for an "Indian Atlantis" is the basis for this book, which is structured around Hancock's exploration of underwater sites near India, Japan, Taiwan and China, and in the Arabian and Mediterranean Seas. As usual, Hancock wonderfully introduces the general reader to Indian and Japanese subcultures; however, his reliance primarily on works by local alternative historians many of whose views have been clearly refuted by other scientists while ignoring almost anything that refutes his own thesis undercuts his credibility. In his effort to present his step-by-step discoveries in the style of a "whodunit," Hancock remains an entertaining writer and an interesting cultural journalist. But while the exploration of undersea prehistoric sites is a fascinating and ongoing research area, and Hancock's main contribution to the subject his theories continues to make him a successful writer, his works have been relegated to marginalia.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hancock has reportedly sold several million copies of his books touting earlier origins to civilization than is the general consensus. He believes that civilization rose about 17,000 years ago (rather than about 6,000) and vanished beneath a rising sea level, leaving its traces in flood myths in Sumerian and Vedic texts, in early maps of the Age of Discovery, and more plausibly, in submerged ruins. Hancock throws up a fantastic amount of data on these points in this work, ranging from his personal textual interpretations to his dives at coastal sites in Malta, India, Japan, and the Bahamas. Perhaps Hancock's what-if, adventuring style will again prove commercially successful, if not intellectually persuasive to archaeologists, but the poor organization of this work may daunt the otherwise enthusiastic. Discursive and speculative, it expands the meaning of open-minded
and could have been pruned without harm (Hancock prints scads of his correspondence and interviews verbatim). However, rebels always attract attention--and Hancock has already proven that he can. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved