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99 of 121 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating for the reader unfamilar with these topics, October 27, 2012
This review is from: The Lost Civilization Enigma: A New Inquiry Into the Existence of Ancient Cities, Cultures, and Peoples Who Pre-Date Recorded History (Paperback)
I'll start with the best things I can say about Coppens' new book: he provides an interesting collection of stories covering many topics of archeological interest. These topics are generally supportive of the idea that human civilization existed earlier than we were generally taught to believe. The author covers many relatively unknown archeological enigmas in detail, starting with Chapter One's focus on the controversy over Neolithic relics and remains at Glozel, France in 1927. Peruvian pyramids at Caral, an astronomical interpretation of the Greek story of the Iliad, and the idea that copper mining in Michigan and the Bronze Age in Europe both ended around 1200 B.C. were also interesting topics not often covered by others. The book provides a great introduction to many topics that could be considered ancient mysteries, at a level I would think is perfect for curious but relatively uneducated teenagers.

Other comments will not be so supportive of the book's quality. While I agree that many sites support the idea that out civilization is at least 12,000 years old, Coppens writes that some "tools, objects, and legends - are tens of thousands - even millions of years old." (p. 10) He dwells on the carvings of the "Ica stones" for a long time, even though he knows and admits that these carvings of humans riding dinosaurs are "fake" and "controversial." He quotes Cremo and Thompson supportively when they write that "anatomically modern humans have coexisted with other primates for tens of millions of years." (p. 56) I felt that anything was worked into this book if it sounded interesting to Coppens, whether anyone could take it seriously or not.

He dives into some odd topics that make no sense and are not even related to the theme of the book, such as the claim that the American Secret Service in the 1920s was afraid of a Chinese invasion of the United States. (p. 165) (China at that point was too divided and weak to protect itself from the Russian dismemberment of Mongolia or the Japanese invasion that came in the 1930s) Coppens ends the book focusing on topics like Atlantis and Mu, Shambala in Tibet, finding the geographical center of Britain and Ireland during historical times, and Shamanic visions and near death experiences.

On most pages the writing was adequate but - sometimes - for no apparent reason - the author linked many phrases - together - with hyphens - or commas - in very long run-ons. Sometimes the sentences would not qualify as sentences. There were enough instances of distorted grammar to make a middle school English teacher wince... and make a reader a bit distracted. I only mention it because I've never seen an author do this so much. It really needed more editing.

But overall my issue with the book is that it treats all "interesting" topics almost equally, whether they merit intelligent consideration (like Middle Eastern civilization back to about 10,000 B.C.) or they claim that humans were making artifacts millions, or even tens or hundreds of millions of years ago. I judge many such things to merit ridicule; Coppens judged them worthy of lengthy commentary, and unfortunately many poorly educated readers will take them seriously.

If you're 13 years old and have never heard of Zahi Hawass, Caral, or Gobekli Tepe but are interested in the idea that the true, really ancient history just isn't taught to us, you'll love this book. If you've read books by Graham Hancock or Robert Schoch or John Michell and appreciated them, you would probably be disappointed.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 17, 2012 7:06:38 PM PST
Thank you for your insightful review. As someone who has been studying ancient philosophy and society for some time now, a review such as yours was a helpful tool. It seems that the market is now inundated with books that treat me like an idiot and end up a waste of my time and bookshelf space. I think I'll stick with Graham Hancock, Colin Wilson, and Manley P. Hall, and I'll take your info and check out Schoch and Michell.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2012 12:13:11 AM PST
THS Badger says:
You and the original poster should check out "Ancient Archeology" by Cremo and Thompson. It is the best documented and researched example of the alternative archeology viewpoint. Hundreds of actual archeological finds support the authors' contentions. It is a must reference for anyone interested in this subject.

Posted on Apr 28, 2013 11:55:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 29, 2013 12:28:12 AM PDT
This book was written while Coppens was yet undiagnosed with terminal cancer, and I must wonder if your observations are manifestations of his illness. His other writings are coherent, cohesive, and detailed as though targeted for people who have followed his work. (Unfortunately, he passed away from the very fast-growing disease early this year - January, I think.)
Ignoring the poor writing for a minute, is the book's content filled with more "relatively unknown archeological enigmas" than the seeminging unrelated topics? Are there adequate new archealogical findings to warrant reading the book to become aware of them? Also, is the content footnoted well? I am attempting to determine if the content makes the book worth reading despite the drawbacks.

Your thorough analysis clearly highlights the need for better (or more) editing. The publisher obviously 'fell down on the job' when it came to assigning a good editor or to follow up on the person's quality for both copy and content editing. I will be cautious before buying books from this publishing house.

As a side-note, in technical writing, a rule of thumb is to use hyphens to join words that are to be read together as one adjective. For example, a "three-year-old child" (vs writing a "three year old" where the words represent a noun). If the confusing sequeys and links are poor application of this rule, I am even moreso inclined to think Coppens' deteriorated writing manifested his illness or severe distraction, as I saw similar behavioral change in a young man with undiagnosed brain cancer who died soon after diagnosis.

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2013 4:59:41 AM PDT
Coppen's illness probably does explain some of the problems; I regretted reading of his passing and I agree some of his earlier work seemed better. I remember reading his comments on ancient copper mining in Michigan years ago. If readers have a special interest in specific, lesser-known enigmas like the Michigan mines, Caral, or Glozel, they may want to read the relevant chapters despite the many problems described in my review.

Posted on Jan 12, 2014 4:24:22 PM PST
Adam Connor says:
Great review. Would you have a suggestion of a better book?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 12, 2014 6:44:13 PM PST
Thank you Adam. Here are some suggestions from my own favorite books on ancient civilization, culture, astronomy, mythology, technology, etc - consider
The Mythic Image by Joseph Campbell
The Message of the Sphinx: A Quest for the Hidden Legacy of Mankind by Graham Hancock
Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings: Evidence of Advanced Civilization in the Ice Age by Charles H. Hapgood
Hamlet's Mill: An Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge And Its Transmission Through Myth by Giorgio de Santillana
The Dimensions of Paradise: Sacred Geometry, Ancient Science, and the Heavenly Order on Earth by John Michell
Technology of the Gods: The Incredible Sciences of the Ancients by David Hatcher Childress
When the Sky Fell: In Search of Atlantis by Rand and Rose Flem-Ath
And one I'm reading right now that impresses me so far (but I haven't finished it yet) Decoding the Great Pyramid by Peter Lemesurier

You might find some other titles of interest if you look through the other books I've reviewed.
It really depends on exactly what your interests are, and how much background you already have on related subjects.

Posted on May 17, 2014 4:47:43 PM PDT
Dr Markway says:
I am not going to brag using my credentials to do so, but I am well versed in this area. I ashamed to admit that I have been associated with a number of digs in which anomalous objects showed up with every apparent indication of great age, but which were discreetly discarded. Why? No one asked my opinion, but if I had talked about them I could have lost MY tenure and funding for the dig may have been cut off and all of the other finds called into question. One thing had bothered me for quite some time. Right up until around 50-40,000 BPE technology everywhere was the same. Within perhaps 1,000 years middens etc. began to look like some sort of paleolithic Wal-Mart. Being an amateur rose breeder and also familiar with migrations of the period I immediately suspected hybridization between "modern" humans and Neanderthals. Correct or not the DNA has been found and the intelligence boost is not debatable in that it happened. So, if intelligence, at least in Western Eurasia, was at least up to modern standards, why did it take almost 30,000+ years before we see a civilization? Probably the choicest sites were covered by the rising waters of the world following the last Ice Age's end, but there have been hints. The Antikythera Device was made for export, not some one off, which implies an industry. The old portolanos alone should be enough to make people wonder. A map of Europe from the Middle-Ages with proper latitude and longitude is an historical difficulty, especially since all copies look alike, seem to show a time before the last ice age was over and have extremely odd lines copied on them that seem to center upon Egypt and imply that the European Portolanos were originally a part of a much larger map. I recommend Arlington Mallery's book as well as Mowat's "Farfarers". Also do a web search for Florida's bog mummies in about 1980, and glance through, "Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi River Valley" by Squier and Davis. Petrie and Dunn have some excellent points to make about tool use in antiquity. Hancock is hit and miss although his "Underworld" is very good. John Michell is always underrated. He gets into odd territory, but he truly is well versed in European folklore and has some very astute observations to make about European/Asian culture prior to the Romans.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2014 9:57:47 PM PDT
Dr Markway I would be happy to discuss details further if you would, use the contact form on the my web site for my book if interested

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2014 1:54:48 PM PDT
Filip/Philippe Coppens passed away December 30th 2012...

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 11, 2014 1:02:11 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 11, 2014 1:06:47 PM PDT]
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