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Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About The Event That Changed History Paperback – January 25, 2000
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Amanda Heller The Boston Globe A complex but thoroughly plausible solution to this intriguing mystery in a narrative of surprisingly dramatic intensity.
Philip Morrison and Phylis Morrison Scientific American As engaging as it is important...exciting...full of surprises, rivalries, and partnerships.
Richard Ellis The New York Times Book Review An interesting and provocative story...Ryan and Pitman have thoroughly researched every aspect of this intricately woven story. They are articulate, enthusiastic, and dedicated.
From the Back Cover
Using sound waves and coring devices to probe the sea floor, William Ryan and Walter Pitman revealed clear evidence that this inland body of water had once been a vast freshwater lake lying hundreds of feet below the level of the world's rising oceans. Sophisticated dating techniques confirmed that 7,600 years ago the mounting seas had burst through the narrow Bosporus valley, and the salt water of the Mediterranean had poured into the lake with unimaginable force, racing over beaches and up rivers, destroying or chasing all life before it. The rim of the lake, which had served as an oasis, a Garden of Eden for farms and villages in a vast region of semi-desert, became a sea of death. The people fled, dispersing their languages, genes, and memories.
Top Customer Reviews
The second piece of the puzzle came from geological research in the 1960s and 70s. This was the stunning discovery that the Mediterranean was once a desert that had been turned into a sea in one cataclysmic event. This in turn suggested that there may well have been other such events during the time of human habitation, including one massive flooding that was the basis of all the flood stories found in all the cultures of Europe and Asia.
Starting from that discovery, the authors explore the geological, historical and linguistic data in search of the event or events that became the basis for all flood legends of the Mideast, and explore the possibility that it was just such a flood that motivated a great exodus of people that eventually populated areas as far away as Western Europe and China.
The authors have been deeply involved in this research from the beginning, with one (Ryan) having been aboard the Glomar Challanger in the 1970s when the evidence of the great Mediterranean deluge was discovered. They do an excellent job not only of explaining the scientific data, but of sharing the real excitement of discovery that they have felt. Highly recommended for students of geology, archeology, ancient history, classics and biblical studies, as well as the casual educated reader looking for an excellent tale of scientific and historical discovery.
In truth, the story of the Black Sea covers more than plate tectonics, glaciation, human evolution or ten cubic miles of water flowing through a narrow channel in less than a day over seven thousand years ago. The neat trick with this book is that the authors have managed to include all that and more.
There are really two stories here. One is about the evolution of the human species from the Pleistocene to the present day, told in scientific language with scientific explanations for the actions & discoveries of the story's scientific participants. The other story is an epic tale of crafty researchers, cooperating scientists, story-tellers, myths and legends, told in skillfully written & documented prose that sweeps the reader along in the current of human successes, failures & terrors.
Beginning with Rawlinson's work in 1835 on a monument in Persia, Pitman & Ryan weave the reader through a fabric of time that is, as Lord is quoted saying, a past "of various times . . . assembled into the present performance." Using this motif, the authors introduce themselves only as two participants in a story of discovery, narrated by a fictive bard who is present only in the words. However the authors' parts in the discovery of the Black Sea flood event deserves respect. Meanwhile they have written a book that shows the respect they have for all who have been part of the story. Most importantly, they also have not forgotten the story itself.
In the final chapters Ryan & Pitman review the Black Sea's effect on history from the geological, genetic, linguistic and archeological evidence. They then compare this evidence with the numerous universal flood legends. Ryan & Pitman show how the power of the historical and geological event that created the Black Sea is the power behind the oral tradition. They then close the last chapter with the final lines of the story of Atrahasis: "I shall sing of the flood to all people! Listen!"
Most intriguing of all the information in this book is a dedication that includes a quote from the Gilgamesh epic. The dedication reveals the epic nature of the science and the mythos involved the Black Sea. It shows the sensitivity that the authors have for a legend and event that made humanity the species smart enough to wonder why and sensitive enough to pursue the wonder of life itself.
Whether you're interested in the science or the myth, Noah's Flood is a marvelous read. Clearly written, scientifically concise, sensitive to the human heritage in the rise of agriculture, language & story, it is worth the time you'll take in reading it. And you'll gain a sense for timeless wonder of the story within the words.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
New Year high hopes.
Monkey view your fresh.
It was an elite circle of friends.
The purity of the language here.Read more
Enjoyable book until you get to last quarter of the book. That is when the book becomes a belief system and not scientific.