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Lost Continents : The Atlantis Theme in History, Science, and Literature [Hardcover]

2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite live up to it's reputation... April 25 2004
By D. Hill
Format:Paperback
This is a crabby book that attempts to refute the legend of Atlantis and other lost continents with whatever method it can muster - geology, geography, literature and "scientific." It doesn't quite live up to it's reputation, although it has a lot of interesting maps in it and makes some good points about continental drift and other scientific theories. On the one hand, de Camp has done a lot of research for it and brings to light, although I am sure unintentionally, some valuable history on how the Atlantis story came into being (mainly references to it before and after Plato). His conclusions on what scholars knew and thought at the time are subjective at best, though and, since the book was written back in 1954 and only slightly revised in 1970, according to the jacket, much of the points he makes abour scientific research are now dated.
The main fault in the book lies in the title itself. De Camp's main points are that a continent as big as Atlantis was reputed to be couldn't have sunk, but the original account from Plato didn't clearly call Atlantis a continent, and there is plenty of evidence of similar land masses of this smaller type sinking (some brought up by de Camp himself in the book, like the island of Krakatow). Since none if us were alive in the past, how can any of us be certain what the land masses looked like then..? His other point is that people were not even advanced enough to have built Atlantis back in 9,600 b.c. (he describes our ancestors as "sitting on a branch and scratching" at that time). De Camp, at the time anyway, seems to have bought wholesale into the Darwin theory of evolution, which, we know now, has plenty of holes.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Geography, myth, and history! Jan. 20 1999
By Gail W. Adams - Published on Amazon.com
L. Sprague de Camp does a masterful job of refuting the Atlantis legend. His descriptions of geography are easily understood by the average reader.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating and well-researched study of Atlantis June 13 2007
By Wanderer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Unless your religion requires that you believe in Atlantis, you will find that De Camp presents powerful arguments against the crackpot claims about Atlantis. He tells a compelling history that is supported by the solid scholarship that is often lacking in many books on Atlantis. You will find yourself amazed at the forgotten history that De Camp uncovers, such as the following:

"One contributor to this stream of speculation was Francis Wilford, who in 1805 advanced an Atlanto-Druidic hypothesis according to which the British Isles were a remnant of a former Atlantic continent where the events of the Old Testament had actually taken place (and not in Palestine as most people thought)" (p. 187).

De Camp gives the following caution that the crackpots will never accept:

"Myths and legends, then, do often have a basis of fact. But the factual part of the myth may be so small and muddled that you cannot possibly reconstruct history from the legend. As the historian Grote said: `The lesson must be learnt, hard and painful thought it may be, that no imaginable reach of the critical acumen will of itself enable us to discriminate fancy from realty, in the absence of a tolerable stock of evidence" (p. 250).

See also my five-star reviews of "Lost Tribes and Sunken Continents: Myth and Method in the Study of the American Indians," by Robert Wauchope, and "The Mound Builders: The Archaeology of a Myth," by Robert Silverberg. Click on the following links and scroll down: Lost Tribes and Sunken Continents Myth Method in the
Mound Builders

Your comments--positive or negative--on my reviews are appreciated. Thanks.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting look at the sunken continent. Nov. 27 2013
By Bob - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the classic tool for debunking the whole Atlantis legend. Though this edition is over 40 years old, it still is the go to volume to disprove the "reality" of Atlantis (or Mu or Lemuria, for that matter) Well written, well thought out, well worth the time, though some of the information about deciphering Mayan glyphs is now dated.
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost Continent review Aug. 26 2013
By Dant50 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this to be an excellent book although the author refutes the various legends and myths concerning the Lost Continent of Atlantis. The book makes numerous valid points with which to support the conclusion that Atlantis did not exist but was rather an elaborate story by Plato who took poetic license in order to write a detailed story. The absence of any solid evidence to the contrary is rather one sided. References to other supporting works are given throughout the text and I plan on reading some of this material, particularly since they represent the opposing side of the argument. It is a good book and worth reading for anyone interested in this subject as it places the story into a scientific perspective.
15 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite live up to it's reputation... April 25 2004
By D. Hill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a crabby book that attempts to refute the legend of Atlantis and other lost continents with whatever method it can muster - geology, geography, literature and "scientific." It doesn't quite live up to it's reputation, although it has a lot of interesting maps in it and makes some good points about continental drift and other scientific theories. On the one hand, de Camp has done a lot of research for it and brings to light, although I am sure unintentionally, some valuable history on how the Atlantis story came into being (mainly references to it before and after Plato). His conclusions on what scholars knew and thought at the time are subjective at best, though and, since the book was written back in 1954 and only slightly revised in 1970, according to the jacket, much of the points he makes abour scientific research are now dated.
The main fault in the book lies in the title itself. De Camp's main points are that a continent as big as Atlantis was reputed to be couldn't have sunk, but the original account from Plato didn't clearly call Atlantis a continent, and there is plenty of evidence of similar land masses of this smaller type sinking (some brought up by de Camp himself in the book, like the island of Krakatow). Since none if us were alive in the past, how can any of us be certain what the land masses looked like then..? His other point is that people were not even advanced enough to have built Atlantis back in 9,600 b.c. (he describes our ancestors as "sitting on a branch and scratching" at that time). De Camp, at the time anyway, seems to have bought wholesale into the Darwin theory of evolution, which, we know now, has plenty of holes. These days, as more discoveries have been unearthed, the date for human civilization is being pushed back more and more. Ruins have been found on Malta that date to 8,000 b.c. and even the Sphinx has been redated, albeit not by everyone, to 10,000 b.c. Underwater ruins discovered off of Cuba have been dated to 15,000, even 30,000 b.c. Also, I am shocked by how little research was done when trying to dispute the most popular theory of Atlantis - the Atlantis sinking beneath the Atlantic theory (a scientist friend of his lowered his camera down by the Mid-Atlantic Ridge with a camera and didn't see any ruins there) ...
His evidence to dispute linguistic evidence of Atlantis, as well as Atlantis and the Mayans connection, all needs more time to answer than I care to give here, other than to say, he is very selective about the examples he gives to prove his case. His research into the almost equally legendary isle Antillia actually proves it's existence rather than disproves it the closer one looks at it. And there are many other parts where de Camp simply dismisses a whole researcher's body of work by calling them loonies (this from a guy who for the most part made his name writing Conan the Barbarian novels, some of which starts out "before the oceans drank Atlantis...").
A cynical work that brings forth the occasional good point about Atlantis, perhaps the bible for the anti-Atlantis people.
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