Romantic ruins""--the cliche guarantees this book a ready readership. The myths and mysteries surrounding the sunken Atlantic (which never was), Troy and the Kingdom of Sheba (which might have been), or the Pyramids, Easter Island, and Stonehenge (which do, at least, exist) have supplied laymen, scientists, quacks and kooks with enough romanticism for a lifetime. In fact, one of the most amazing aspects in these popularized descriptions is the number of men who have been mystically obsessed with King Arthur's life, the Theosophists' imaginary Lemuria, or King Solomon's Mines. Interspersed with the cultists is, of course, the valid work of archaeologists and historians. Taking each ruin separately, the authors have assembled an appropriately tantalizing combination of archaeological fact and legend, trying honestly to reconstruct the most plausible account of each kingdom or city. Some myths are properly exploded (Lemuria, Atlantis) on scientific grounds; other lesser-known ruins are brought into the light (Cambodia's Angkor Wat) while the ""new"". Mayan cities await further investigation. The handling is thorough, sympathetic and level-headed and it should serve as an excellent introduction for younger readers as well.