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The Lost Empire of Atlantis Paperback – October 25, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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Menzies, a former sailor in the British Royal Navy, has carved a lucrative literary career by seizing upon a few tantalizing facts and then making gigantic leaps to unwarranted conclusions. Previously he has asserted that a Chinese admiral “discovered” America and sparked the Renaissance by visiting Italy. In the process, of course, he has infuriated professional historians. Here Menzies turns his attention to the ancient Mediterannean and the Minoan civilization that flourished on the island of Crete in the second millennium B.C. Again using the flimsiest of evidence, he asserts that this Bronze Age, highly localized culture was linked to the mythical “lost continent” of Atlantis, which was at the center of an immense global trading empire extending north to Britain and west to North America. Still, this will be a fun book for some. It includes brave, adventurous mariners and a dramatic natural disaster (probably the most accurate of Menzies’ claims). As a wild piece of historical speculation, this is enjoyable, but it is closer to science fiction than real history. --Jay Freeman






“I WANT TO CONGRATULATE GAVIN MENZIES ON A REMARKABLE JOB OF RESEARCH … A CONVINCING CASE FOR THE ORIGIN OF THE ATLANTIS MYTH … I RECOMMEND THE LOST EMPIRE OF ATLANTIS.” (Betty Meggers, Director of the Latin American Archaeology Program at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: WilliamMr; 1st Printing edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062049488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062049483
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #955,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By John D. Cofield TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gavin Menzies is an impressively clever and imaginative man. As a retired Royal Navy submarine officer, he is a throwback to the days of the gifted amateur historian/archaeologists who sometimes made discoveries that had been overlooked by professionals, and who sometimes made gigantic misinterpretations of what they had "discovered." With Menzies its sometimes hard to tell which he has done. His experience in the Royal Navy has enabled him to analyze shipping routes and interpret the roles of currents and sea levels far better than many other historians with less sailing experience. But unfortunately his enthusiasm and tendency to make giant leaps of faith when interpreting data often leads him to exagerrate or to see connections where there really are none.

With The Lost Empire of Atlantis Menzies postulates that the Minoans of Crete created a world wide shipping and trading empire that stretched from the Middle East through Europe all the way to North America, and that this empire was the basis for the Atlantis legend, including its violent and sudden end when a volcanic eruption on the island of Thera devastated Crete around 1450 BCE. There's really nothing new in Menzies' connecting the Minoans to Atlantis, nor is there in his descriptions of Minoan civilization, which was indeed as advanced and artistic as he describes it. What's new is his idea that the Minoans sailed far and wide, for which he offers little real evidence.
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Format: Paperback
Menzies' new book is entertaining, but speculations are often presented as facts. A much better exploration of the "Thera was Atlantis" hypothesis is found in Charles Pellegrino's excellent Unearthing Atlantis, published in 1991 and still available in paper. He presents the decades-long work of archaeologists Spyridon Marinatos and Christos Doumas on the island of Thera. In the late 1960's, Marinatos discovered what initially he took to be a Minoan royal palace. However, he soon had to radically broaden the scope of the find. Test digs as far as a half mile away revealed other dwellings just as grand as the first, all connected by an intricate network of streets. These buildings had plumbing almost as sophisticated as that available today with hot and cold running water, bathtubs and toilets. Unfortunately, this beautiful civilization was built on an active volcanic island, and one day it exploded, vaporizing over a cubic mile of island in a matter of seconds, and wiping this sophisticated civilization from the face of the earth.

Charles Pellegrino has worked in entomology, forensic physics, paleo-genetics, preliminary design of advanced rocket systems, astrobiology, and marine archaeology. He is the scientist whose dinosaur-cloning recipe inspired Michael Crichton's bestselling novel Jurassic Park, and he worked with James Cameron on his research and innovative underwater exploration equipment that led to the discover of the Titanic. He is a fascinating and gifted writer, and his book runs rings around the new Menzies book.
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Format: Hardcover
Surprising no one this book is filled entirely with speculation presented as fact, and fact treated as merely an inconvenience. We are entering the realm of pseudohistory and any attempt to wring out "facts" is bound to be confusing. Gavin Menzies is a former naval officer whose previous books (1421 and 1434) revealed how another naval culture (China)'s forgotten naval past was responsible for discovering America and starting the Italian Renaissance. Looking back even further he found another culture who's pattern in no way resembles his previous book. The Atlanteans (Minoans) discovered America and stimulated civilization throughout Europe. Amazing.

So his unfounded assertions are these:
1. The Atlanteans were really Minoans.
2. They not only discovered America but ran a major copper mine in Lake Superior.
3. They built Stonehenge and every other stone circle in Europe, despite not doing so on their own soil.

His evidence for such earth-shattering conclusions is:
1. The Minoans used copper of 99% purity. Only in Lake Superior was copper of this purity to be found naturally.
2. That's it.
3. No really, that's it. There is nothing else.

Aside from the fact that I question his basic assertion on that copper thing, proving that the Minoans did any of these things requires finding archaeological finds of a recognizably Minoan type in at least some of the sites in question. In fact, the evidence from all of these sites is that they were built by their own indigenous cultures.
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