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Lost Cities of North & Central America (Lost Cities Series) Paperback – July 1, 1992
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About the Author
David Hatcher Childress, known as the real-life Indiana Jones to the many fans of his books, is a captivating speaker and the author or coauthor of over 25 books. He has traveled the world several times over, seeking adventure and the answers to the mysteries of mankind’s past. Born in France in 1957 and raised in the mountains of Colorado and Montana, David’s curiosity about the world was piqued at a young age. He attended the University of Montana where his studies in oriental culture and philosophy led him to a job teaching English in Taiwan. In 1976, David left the United States on what would become a six-year research and adventure odyssey. During this time, he studied first-hand the ancient civilizations of Africa, the Middle East and China, sometimes journeying into dangerous territory along the way (like Uganda during the overthrow of Idi Amin). After more than 40 years of investigating these arcane subjects, David finds his unique views and ideas gaining popularity. He is currently a co-star on the History Channel show Ancient Aliens. This popular show is now in its eleventh season and David journeys to Peru, Bolivia and Mexico for episodes of the show. He has appeared on Fox-TV’s Sightings and Encounters, two NBC-TV specials, The Conspiracy Zone, and segments for the Discovery Channel, A&E, the Sci-Fi Channel, the Disney Channel, The Travel Channel and others. David also appeared on the Canadian television show Weird or What?, hosted by William Shatner, in its 2011-2012 season. He is also a frequent guest on nationally syndicated radio shows. He continues to explore, write and excite people about discovery through his magazine, World Explorer, and his publishing company, Adventures Unlimited Press. When not traveling, he divides his time between his homes in Illinois and Arizona. He has bookstores open to the public in both locations.
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Childress styles himself a "maverick archaeologist" (p.9), but it is not clear from this book that he has any right, by either education or work experience, to the title archaeologist. He has clearly read much on alternative prehistories which claim extensive pre-Columbian contacts between North America and outside cultures, both real (Egyptian, Roman, Chinese) and imagined (Atlantis and Lemuria). He has also read some of the orthodox counter-arguments (p.439), such as Stephen Williams' excellent Fantastic Archaeology: The Wild Side of North American Prehistory, but he dismisses them as the work of fuddy-duddy academics. To Childress, academic archaeology is essentially a conspiracy to suppress new ideas. Had he spent any time among academics, however, Childress might have learned that the only way for an academic to make a name for himself is exactly to have new ideas and challenge the status quo.
Along the way, Childress indiscriminately embraces every tall tale (pterodactyls in present-day Texas and Arizona, Mothman in West Virginia), odd phenomenon (Bermuda Triangle and tourist "mystery spots") and newspaper hoax (19th century reporters were prone to make up fantastic stories on slow news days; Mark Twain first made his name writing such tongue-in-cheek lies). The book might have been useful as a starting-point for Fortean tourism, but it does not even include an index, so I can only give it two stars.
Rather than a book that explains what places you can visit, how to get there and what to see when you go- this is more of a journal of the authors travels. In here he tells you what he sees, what he thinks and the things he learns.
The author covers a wide range of thoughts from pteradactyles still living to Asians visiting Mexico to Romans in Arizona.
I rated this a four instead of a five for two reasons. At times the writing seems stiff and it makes it hard to wade through some sections of this book. Also, the proofreading leads a lot to be desired. Words are left out, typos and spelling errors are plenty. Enough to be a distraction at times.
Otherwise, it's an interesting book and well worth reading.