THE FLOOD FROM HEAVEN by Eberhard Zangger


Deciphering the Atlantis Legend
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 Plato's myth of Atlantis--a lost continent, according to the Timaeus, that was destroyed by a cataclysmic flood over 11,000 years ago--has bedeviled archaeologists, historians, and occultists for millennia. Is Atlantis fact or fiction? If fact, where was it located? Zangger, a prominent geoarchaeologist, offers a novel and witty solution to the mystery. Researchers have place Atlantis everywhere from Malta to Greenland to outer space. Zangger, who has no truck with his subject's occult reputation, proposes a rather more mundane answer: That Plato's account of Atlantis is actually a ``coded'' history of the Trojan War, Atlantis itself being Troy at its peak, circa 1300 B.C. Zangger makes his case with sterling scholarship, first reviewing ancient Greek history and then offering a point-by-point analysis of Plato's accounts in light of modern archaeological knowledge. To reconstruct Bronze Age Troy, Zangger leans heavily on Homer's account in the Odyssey, perhaps a risky venture. More persuasive, if also more boring, are his attempts to chart the Trojan landscape, both citadel and plain, by using Landsat satellite images, 19th-century maps, and his own observations. Zangger's wit triumphs at the end, as he examines and rejects eight ``counterarguments and shortcomings'' to his thesis and spurns convention in favor of inspiration, inhibition in favor of fun. Zangger's ``solution,'' no doubt, will take its place as just one more entry in the colorful history of the Sunken Continent. But don't let his thesis get lost in the shuffle: In the barren land of serious Atlantean studies, it's like manna from heaven. (Thirty- four b&w photos, 24 maps--not seen.)

Pub Date: Aug. 20th, 1992
ISBN: 0-688-11350-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1992