Customer Review

201 of 226 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, yet he jumps to conclusions too easily, July 24, 2002
This review is from: Chariots of the Gods: Unsolved Mysteries of the Past (Paperback)
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.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 2, 2010 7:44:49 PM PST
G. Boyd says:
Great review, I agree with you 100 percent. I also think that Graham Hancock has a more grounded presentation of very similar facts and presents them in very scientific, well thought out manner without too much speculation. I also think Grahams conclusions are a little closer to reality.

Posted on Jul 28, 2010 4:42:51 PM PDT
S. Sheriff says:
I remember discovering my parents' copy of this book in the 1970s. I was still a kid and I was thrilled to read about all the crazy possibilities. Of course, I also suffered from a major deficit of critical thinking skills.

The last line of the original commentator says it all: fun yes, science no (not even close to science).

Posted on Jul 28, 2010 4:44:09 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 28, 2010 4:44:24 PM PDT]

Posted on Aug 27, 2010 11:12:23 PM PDT
Somyunguy says:
I get one of two impressions:
1. His jumping from one point to the next is itself the argument to back up his theory; each supports the other, rather than going into detail on any one point that viewed from afar would amount to very little.
2. He's not trying to support his ideas. He's just presenting them for others to ponder on and support if they so choose.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2010 10:52:54 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 6, 2010 10:56:28 AM PST
Jason says:
That's exactly what he is doing. Essentially he has a theory - he then is presenting ideas to the reader which support the other and then turns to YOU the reader and wants you to ponder the meaning. He does jump to conclusions very quickly and in no way is this "scientific". However the point I think being made is that what has been currently theorized about our ancient past isn't 100% accurate. There are tons of inconsistencies that can't be answered. Is it alien intervention, perhaps... or perhaps we don't give our ancestors enough credit.

edit: I see it as, just because someone says "these cave paintings or writings mean THIS" and 98% of the time it is correct... in science that isn't enough to form a "law" it is simply a theory. that 2% which it doesn't work for means the existing solution is only partially right. Yes it works, doesn't mean it is the Final...complete answer.

Posted on Jan 22, 2011 7:57:22 PM PST
Mae Rose says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on May 24, 2011 1:56:02 PM PDT
I haven't read the book, yet, but I would like to comment on the amulet that looks like a plane. What I find impossible to explain, is that scientists have found several items that look just like airplanes from different parts of the world and from different eras. That alone is odd, but the scientists have built two of the planes found to scale AND THEY FLEW BY REMOTE. That is too awsome to explain.

Posted on Apr 25, 2012 5:34:46 AM PDT
Some say that Von Daniken jumps around so much to support hi sideas, but in fact, he doesn't All he basically writes is just questions. A book of questions isn't much different than someone lying awake at night & pondering their own questions. I think he would receive more credit & ledd critique if he actually attempted to explain his theories.

As noted by others, his books are entertaining, and there may be fact behind his "questions", though he should attempt to stop rushing with the questions & explain his thoughts a bit better.

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2012 6:21:07 AM PDT
Mark C. says:
"That's exactly what he is doing. Essentially he has a theory..."

No, he doesn't, he has an hypothesis. Google "scientific method".

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2013 4:10:31 PM PST
RockG says:
Absolutely! Graham is very well studied and he doesn't write anything unless he done exhastive research on the subject. Con Daniken has always said "he's asking the question". There for his topics are not complete, he wants us to make our own conclusions.
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