- Publisher: Garber Communications (June 1, 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0893452203
- ISBN-13: 978-0893452209
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,530,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Destruction of Atlantis; Ragnarok the Age of the Fire and Gravel
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Ignatius Donnelly was born in 1831 Philadelphia and became a lawyer in 1852. Married in 1855, they moved to Minnesota. When Minnesota became a state in 1857 Donnelly was elected lieutenant governor. In 1862 he was elected to Congress for three terms. He campaigned for Greenback policies and served in the state senate. Donnelly wrote "Atlantis" and "Ragnarok" which became sensational best sellers and made him wealthy. "The Great Cryptogram" analyzed Shakespeare's plays to prove they were written by Francis Bacon. Two novels dealt with a fascist takeover of America "Caesar's Column", and racial intolerance "Dr. Huguet". In 1887 he became a founder of the Populist Party, and was nominated for Vice-President in 1898. He died in Minneapolis on 1/1/1901. His politics, oratory, and literature marked his originality and talents; his writings are now out of fashion.
Donnelly studied the legends and mythologies of Hindus, Persians, Britons, Chinese, Greeks, Scandinavians, the North, Central, and South American Indians, Arabians, Babylonians, and Egyptians that told of disaster by fire, hail, frost, darkness, changes in climates, and tales of dragons and other monsters. Donnelly claimed these reflected a visit from a giant comet, and the proof lay in The Drift of unstratified deposits which came from a cometic collision rather than glacial movement. Donnelly suggested a comet could have caused Old Testament events such as the destruction of the wicked cities, the sun standing still, and stones falling from the heavens. Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods (or Rain of Rocks), commanded the interest of general readers, and the admiration (if not credence) of the scientific world. Donnelly, a good lawyer, argued his case well with all the evidence available to him at the time. Decades later Immanuel Velikovsky would publish his version of this theory.
The surface of our planet consists of layers of sand, clay, and gravel (over stratified rock). It contains no trace of fossils. The pre-glacial world saw tropical plants growing near the Arctic Circle in Miocene times. Herds of elephants and other animals lived in Europe. Donnelly says a sudden cataclysm brought severe cold, and left deposits of sand, clay, and gravel; fissures were created in earth's crust. He explains why this was caused by a comet striking earth, the heat vaporizing the seas to create clouds, rain, and snow. Rocks on the surface would be smashed and crushed. This collision was preserved in the legends of mankind. The Great Lakes suggest points of impact. Vast clouds, and debris in the sky, would create a "nuclear winter".
Donnelly says myths and legends are ultimately based on some fact. Finding the same legends among different nations suggests a common experience in prehistoric times. These myths of a cataclysm imply the existence of mankind; they are in accord with the facts known to science and from deep excavations. The legends coincide in this: a monster in the air; the heat; the fire; the cave-life; the darkness; the return of light. Donnelly respectfully suggests the Book of Job is the oldest in the Bible, and gives a new viewpoint to the beginning of Genesis.
Donnelly answers objections in Part IV Chapter IV. The position of certain constellations in Job estimates this time as 30,000 years ago. Donnelly suggests the fire that seemed to drop out of the heavens and set a number of fires in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois on October 8, 1871 was the result of Bielas' comet. There is a universal feeling that regards comets with fear; Revelation (chapter xii, v.3) is a symbol of a comet brushing the earth. Why would God permit such a calamity? Perhaps what was destroyed was not worth preserving? It could be God's plan to punish the wicked of this world, says Donnelly.
Donnelly uncovered evidence that the drift was sudden, the poles were not as they are now ("some terrible shock displaced them") and heat meeting cold caused a thick world-wide cloud cover (which caused the subsequent ice age). Modern science corroborates this - the mammoths and all flora and fauna perished suddenly. The sea boiled in great fjords, rocks melted, and clay and gravel rained down from the sky. A recent PBS documentary claimed it was either due to a comet or a volcano.
Donnelly theorized that it was a comet. He devotes a whole chapter to comets and their nature, particularly the Biela comet as it related to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. At the same moment in three different states (Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois) it was recorded that peculiar and devastating fires broke out. Even though history books STILL stick like fly paper to the Mrs.-O'Leary's-cow-kicked-a-lantern-in-the-barn story, heat intense enough to melt tons of pig iron couldn't have been caused by a barn fire.
Among other interesting conjectures, Donnelly thought that the Americas were the true ancient world (which ties in nicely with recent anthropological findings in North America proving quite conclusively that paleoindians didn't all come over the Bering Strait from Mongolia and Asia). He dug up Indian legends about a great conflagration and there is a fascinating passage about the book of Job being a chronicle of the great catastrophe.
As Paul Allen says in his 1971 introduction to the book, "He took no 'leads' from other authors or authorities in his investigation of these themes; he was a pioneer in the fullest and best sense of the word." This book is out of print now, but I bought it from Amazon.com only three or four years ago. Originally published in 1883, it is still worth reading in the 21st Century. I vote for yet another reprint.