Strong annotations and sweep make this book a one-stop shop for Atlantis seekers, though it will likely fail to persuade...




A writer cites diverse authorities, from Plato to psychics, to describe the daily life, culture, and ultimate cataclysm of mythic Atlantis.

Andrews (Lemuria and Atlantis, 2004) employs lucid language—even when approaching the most far-out and occult concepts—to present an extensive portrait of the so-called lost land of Atlantis. To mystics, New Age faithful, and travel tale spinners, Atlantis was an advanced island nation in the remote past (48,000 to 10,000 B.C.E.) that supposedly occupied the mid-Atlantic, interacted with space aliens and apparitions, and was submerged in a series of catastrophes, in part because of the citizens’ own disastrous choices and decline into decadence and malice. Not only is the author a believer, but she also claims in her introduction to have lived in past incarnations on Atlantis, maybe as one of the evildoers guilty of ruining this nuclear-powered, Cro-Magnon semi-utopia. But even with that extraordinary insight, Andrews keeps her own spirits reined in to present a vivid picture of Atlantis culture and history woven from others’ phantasms that have built up the place’s lore. These include the canonical accounts of Plato, the visions of 1930s seer Edgar Cayce, past-life fabulations by novelist Taylor Caldwell, and the “dictated” memoirs of a sort of ghost named Phylos to Victorian teen Frederick Oliver. (Several intriguing maps of Atlantis at various stages are also featured.) When possible, to shore up the psychic stuff, Andrews cites the explorations of mainstream science figures such as Jacques Cousteau and Hyatt Verrill, though she mostly falls back on Fort-ean types like Zecharia Sitchin and Charles Berlitz. Using “perhaps” quite a bit in the text, Andrews skillfully links persisting memories of Atlantis’ rise, fall, and gadgetry to worldwide myths, ranging from Celtic folklore to Ponce de León’s Fountain of Youth. Atlantis Armageddon’s ethnic survivors include some Arab and Native American tribes as well as the Appalachian “Melungeons” (this would make Elvis Presley an Atlantean). As with many speculative scientific books, this work displays an unfortunate tendency to cast a wide net over assorted paranormal flotsam and jetsam, whether these phenomena relate directly to the subject or not: sea serpents and Nessie (apparently Atlantis had chronic monster problems), pyramid power, Filipino psychic surgeons, European witchcraft, UFOs, and the Bermuda Triangle.

Strong annotations and sweep make this book a one-stop shop for Atlantis seekers, though it will likely fail to persuade skeptics to add the place to Google Earth.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5462-2419-8

Page Count: 292

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.


An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down.

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011, etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2000 degrees…more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell….It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. The author speculates about Peak’s guilt but remains “confounded.” Maybe it was just an accident after all.

Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4018-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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