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The Lost Empire Of Atlantis: History's Greatest Mystery Revealed [Paperback]

Gavin Menzies
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 17 2011

“Tremendous. This guy has done history like you would not believe.”
—Glenn Beck

The secrets of history’s most enduring mystery are finally revealed in The Lost Empire of Atlantis. Through impeccable research and intelligent speculation, Gavin Menzies, the New York Times bestselling author of 1421, uncovers the truth behind the mysterious “lost” city of Atlantis—making the startling claim that the “Atlanteans” discovered America 4,000 years ago and ruled a vast Mediterranean empire that was violently destroyed in 1,500 BC. Forget everything you’ve ever thought about the Atlantis legend—Gavin Menzies will make you a believer!


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The Lost Empire Of Atlantis: History's Greatest Mystery Revealed + Who Discovered America?: The Untold History of the Peopling of the Americas + 1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance
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Review

“MENZIES [IS] PROPOUNDING ONE OF THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS IN THE HISTORY OF HISTORY.” (New York Times Magazine)

“A DISTINGUISHED HISTORIAN.” (BBC World Service)

“A HISTORICAL DETECTIVE, AS WELL AS A SCHOLAR, [WHO] ADDS TO OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD, PAST AND PRESENT.” (New York Daily News)

“ASTOUNDING . . . MENZIES SHOULD GET THE NOBEL AND PULITZER PRIZES FOR HIS WORK. WALK ALONG THE PATHWAYS OF DISCOVERY WITH HIM. IT IS A JOYOUS JAUNT.” (San Bernadino Sun)

“I WANT TO CONGRATULATE GAVIN MENZIES ON A REMARKABLE JOB OF RESEARCH … A CONVINCING CASE FOR THE ORIGIN OF THE ATLANTIS MYTH … I RECOMMEND THE LOST EMPIRE OF ATLANTIS.” (Betty Meggers, Director of the Latin American Archaeology Program at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History)

From the Back Cover

The astonishing true story of Atlantis

In 1500 B.C. a supervolcano beneath the Greek island of Santorini exploded in a near-apocalyptic eruption. Buried beneath the rubble and waves was the world’s most remarkable lost civilization. . . .

New York Times bestselling historian Gavin Menzies presents newly uncovered evidence revealing, conclusively, that “the lost city of Atlantis” was not only real but also at the heart of a highly advanced global empire that reached the shores of America before being violently wiped from the earth.

For three millennia, the legend of Atlantis has gripped the imaginations of explorers, philosophers, occultists, treasure hunters, historians, and archaeologists. Until now, it has remained shrouded in myth. Yet, like ancient Troy, is it possible that this fabled city actually existed? If so, what happened to it and what are its secrets? The fascinating reality of Atlantis’s epic glory and destruction are uncovered, finally, in these pages in thrilling detail by the iconoclastic historian Gavin Menzies—father of some of “the most revolutionary ideas in the history of history” (New York Times).

Meticulously analyzing exciting new geologic research, recently unearthed archaeological artifacts, and cutting-edge DNA evidence, Menzies has made a jaw-dropping discovery: Atlantis truly did exist, and was part of the incredibly advanced Minoan civilization that extended from its Mediterranean base to England, India, and even America. In The Lost Empire of Atlantis, he constructs a vivid portrait of this legendary civilization and shares his remarkable findings.

As riveting as an Indiana Jones adventure, The Lost Empire of Atlantis is a revolutionary work of popular history that will forever change our understanding of the past.


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Journey of Discovery Dec 7 2011
By G. Poirier TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Beginning with well-established Minoan history, the author explores the likelihood that the Minoan Civilization was much more powerful and important than previously thought. He travels around the Mediterranean looking for evidence of past Minoan presence, forming hypotheses that the Minoans were much wider travelled than is commonly accepted. Finding possibly Minoan signs in Western Europe and the British Isles, the author even travelled to North America looking for more. He claims that the copper-rich areas around Lake Superior - areas that apparently have been extensively mined in very ancient antiquity - may be his evidence, since copper was the most common component of bronze. If correct, this would establish the Minoans as the first Europeans to reach the New World - millennia before Columbus. Because of the advanced state of Minoan technology, i.e., ocean-worthy ships, bronze tools and weapons, etc., he equates the Minoans with the people of legendary Atlantis - an idea that has been seriously considered by reputable scholars for a long time.

The author is, of course, convincing in his arguments, some of which appear to be supported by DNA evidence as well as by some scholars who had already examined some of the same sites as the author. However, before jumping onto the author's bandwagon, I would like to see some healthy debate between the author and scholars with diametrically opposing (and more conventional) views who have their own arguments and their own hard evidence. Thus, as is the way in science, a more solid road forward could be paved.

As has already been pointed out by prior reviewers, much of this book is written as a travelogue, as the author and his wife search for the trail of the Ancient Minoans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 24 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Since reading this book i now go into museums looking for evidence to support Menzies' compelling argument.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Oct. 10 2014
By Peter
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
great no problem nice and quick
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Empire of Atlantis Dec 8 2011
By sasa
Format:Paperback
This book arrived in perfect condition. Thank you for your excellent and fast service. Gavin Menzies has done it again! It is a fabulous read and my hat goes off to Gavin and his crew for the painstaking research they do for every book he writes. Please write more books for me to read and gain more knowledge, Gavin.
Your devoted reader, Sylvia Macdonald
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  71 reviews
81 of 91 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars As Always With Menzies, Intriguing, But . . . Nov. 12 2011
By John D. Cofield - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Gavin Menzies is an impressively clever and imaginative man. As a retired Royal Navy submarine officer, he is a throwback to the days of the gifted amateur historian/archaeologists who sometimes made discoveries that had been overlooked by professionals, and who sometimes made gigantic misinterpretations of what they had "discovered." With Menzies its sometimes hard to tell which he has done. His experience in the Royal Navy has enabled him to analyze shipping routes and interpret the roles of currents and sea levels far better than many other historians with less sailing experience. But unfortunately his enthusiasm and tendency to make giant leaps of faith when interpreting data often leads him to exagerrate or to see connections where there really are none.

With The Lost Empire of Atlantis Menzies postulates that the Minoans of Crete created a world wide shipping and trading empire that stretched from the Middle East through Europe all the way to North America, and that this empire was the basis for the Atlantis legend, including its violent and sudden end when a volcanic eruption on the island of Thera devastated Crete around 1450 BCE. There's really nothing new in Menzies' connecting the Minoans to Atlantis, nor is there in his descriptions of Minoan civilization, which was indeed as advanced and artistic as he describes it. What's new is his idea that the Minoans sailed far and wide, for which he offers little real evidence. One supposed tobacco beetle corpse; possible evidence of tobacco, cocaine, and other Western Hemisphere drugs in Egyptian mummies (which he admits had been stored in museums and thus possibly contaminated for years); carvings and paintings that he claims depict maize, sunflowers, and tobacco but which are too faded or weathered to be certain; admittedly fascinatingly similar stone circles found all over Europe; these and many other pieces of evidence are indeed interesting, but none of it amounts to the absolute proof that Menzies seeks to make of it. Surely more than one tobacco beetle (which is actually found in many habitats, not just in North America) would have made its way to Crete if there had really been so much contact!

Its impossible to read The Lost Empire of Atlantis or any of Menzies' other books without developing a liking for the man. Much of this book reads like a travelogue as he journeys from place to place seeking and finding Minoan relicts (and once spending a night in jail!) and has an air of excitement that is frequently lacking in professional historians' works. But while he has an intriguing thesis and the evidence he cites deserves a closer look, in the end one has to render the verdict Not Proven.
46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Charles Pellegrino told this story better.... Nov. 21 2011
By GN Johnstone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Menzies' new book is entertaining, but speculations are often presented as facts. A much better exploration of the "Thera was Atlantis" hypothesis is found in Charles Pellegrino's excellent Unearthing Atlantis, published in 1991 and still available in paper. He presents the decades-long work of archaeologists Spyridon Marinatos and Christos Doumas on the island of Thera. In the late 1960's, Marinatos discovered what initially he took to be a Minoan royal palace. However, he soon had to radically broaden the scope of the find. Test digs as far as a half mile away revealed other dwellings just as grand as the first, all connected by an intricate network of streets. These buildings had plumbing almost as sophisticated as that available today with hot and cold running water, bathtubs and toilets. Unfortunately, this beautiful civilization was built on an active volcanic island, and one day it exploded, vaporizing over a cubic mile of island in a matter of seconds, and wiping this sophisticated civilization from the face of the earth.

Charles Pellegrino has worked in entomology, forensic physics, paleo-genetics, preliminary design of advanced rocket systems, astrobiology, and marine archaeology. He is the scientist whose dinosaur-cloning recipe inspired Michael Crichton's bestselling novel Jurassic Park, and he worked with James Cameron on his research and innovative underwater exploration equipment that led to the discover of the Titanic. He is a fascinating and gifted writer, and his book runs rings around the new Menzies book.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just Idle Speculation March 2 2012
By Arch Stanton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Surprising no one this book is filled entirely with speculation presented as fact, and fact treated as merely an inconvenience. We are entering the realm of pseudohistory and any attempt to wring out "facts" is bound to be confusing. Gavin Menzies is a former naval officer whose previous books (1421 and 1434) revealed how another naval culture (China)'s forgotten naval past was responsible for discovering America and starting the Italian Renaissance. Looking back even further he found another culture who's pattern in no way resembles his previous book. The Atlanteans (Minoans) discovered America and stimulated civilization throughout Europe. Amazing.

So his unfounded assertions are these:
1. The Atlanteans were really Minoans.
2. They not only discovered America but ran a major copper mine in Lake Superior.
3. They built Stonehenge and every other stone circle in Europe, despite not doing so on their own soil.

His evidence for such earth-shattering conclusions is:
1. The Minoans used copper of 99% purity. Only in Lake Superior was copper of this purity to be found naturally.
2. That's it.
3. No really, that's it. There is nothing else.

Aside from the fact that I question his basic assertion on that copper thing, proving that the Minoans did any of these things requires finding archaeological finds of a recognizably Minoan type in at least some of the sites in question. In fact, the evidence from all of these sites is that they were built by their own indigenous cultures. Stonehenge is built in the manner of dozens of wooden henges scattered throughout Britain. There are other similar monuments scattered throughout Europe. It does not require the Minoans to explain that. Especially since he considers them a naval people. The equation of the Minoans with the Atlanteans is hardly a new idea. Unearthing Atlantis made the same assertion in a much more realistic and speculative manner.

The Lake Superior copper thing is the most extreme of his beliefs. It may come as a surprise to an ex-naval officer but facts have to be backed up. Finding a source of copper that matches the purity of copper implements does no more than suggest a possibility. When the possibility requires activity far beyond the capabilities of a Mediterranean Bronze Age civilization it becomes an impossibility. The Minoans existed on a few islands in the Mediterranean. They didn't have the human or financial resources necessary to create the massive fleet and permanent outposts that he describes, nor did they have a reason to. If one has to choose between a copper mine of reasonable purity only a few hundred miles away (in Turkey for example, where we know they existed), or one on the other side of the globe then which one would you expect them to choose? And how were they supposed to have known such a mine existed anyway? They would have to have had a colony there to begin with. It just doesn't make sense.

Other techniques for proving things include sailing around looking for landmarks from paintings. This at least sounds like a fun activity (especially for a naval man), but it just won't wash. He's searching for the main naval base, the 'Admiralty House', that he assumes existed. He assumes it existed because "without doubt the Minoan's military strength came from their navy." Since nothing is really known for sure about the Minoan military (there are no translated written sources) such an assertion is just an assumption. Certainly there's nothing surviving in their artwork to indicate the scale or organization of their forces or even whether they had a standing navy or simply commandeered merchant ships when needed. More to the point for his search, when Thera erupted it irrevocably changed the shape of the island. Half of it is now under water and the city itself is buried under hundreds of feet of ash that now forms part of the land and has changed the coastline of the remaining section of the island. So he's searching for a naval base that would be buried under hundreds of feet of earth in a landscape that has changed unrecognizably since the Minoans left it. Good luck with that.

But even he recognizes that Santorini can't account for all of Atlantis. So he posits that Plato's Atlantis is actually composed of three separate places:
1. "Atlantis' metropolis was really Santorini"
2. "The island in the Atlantic as big as Libya and Egypt was in fact America."
3. "Atlantis' manufacturing base and breadbasket was Crete."
So after thousands of years of entirely oral transmission these places were conflated into one. Again, no evidence. Just Plato's description (and possibly invention) of a prehistoric civilization for the purposes of a story on ethics, which has been taken way way too seriously by so many people. Atlantis is an attractive myth, so there are always going to be people trying to locate it. But the fact that none of them agree with each other should tell you something. So I'm ending this review by repeating his last words: "Most important of all - what do you think?" If you read this book make sure you do your own thinking, because the reasoning here is extremely sub-par.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A speculative work provides new insight, but still needs proof Jan. 9 2013
By Victor De Grande - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There have already been many other works about the Minoan civilization, but I believe Menzies is the first to make the claim that they colonized North America. None of what he says is impossible. Roman shipwrecks have been found in South America, so it would be possible for ancient ships to cross the Atlantic. As far as following the currents to the mouth of the Mississippi river, finding alluvial copper, learning from the natives that it came from the Great Lakes, and establishing mining and smelting operations to exploit it? If he is correct, we will eventually find evidence to substantiate his claims. Large amounts of copper were mined from the Great Lakes, and are not accounted for, so his thesis presents one possible explanation. DNA evidence of Eastern Mediterranean ancestry in the area is hard to argue with, and when the science improves it may provide more clarity. The pieces of the puzzle seem to fit together, but there may be other interpretations for the remains of settlements left throughout Europe. If you have an open mind, I highly recommend this book.
39 of 53 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just Idle Speculation March 2 2012
By Arch Stanton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Surprising no one this book is filled entirely with speculation presented as fact, and fact treated as merely an inconvenience. We are entering the realm of pseudohistory and any attempt to wring out "facts" is bound to be confusing. Gavin Menzies is a former naval officer whose previous books (1421 and 1434) revealed how another naval culture (China)'s forgotten naval past was responsible for discovering America and starting the Italian Renaissance. Looking back even further he found another culture who's pattern in no way resembles his previous book. The Atlanteans (Minoans) discovered America and stimulated civilization throughout Europe. Amazing.

So his unfounded assertions are these:
1. The Atlanteans were really Minoans.
2. They not only discovered America but ran a major copper mine in Lake Superior.
3. They built Stonehenge and every other stone circle in Europe, despite not doing so on their own soil.

His evidence for such earth-shattering conclusions is:
1. The Minoans used copper of 99% purity. Only in Lake Superior was copper of this purity to be found naturally.
2. That's it.
3. No really, that's it. There is nothing else.

Aside from the fact that I question his basic assertion on that copper thing, proving that the Minoans did any of these things requires finding archaeological finds of a recognizably Minoan type in at least some of the sites in question. In fact, the evidence from all of these sites is that they were built by their own indigenous cultures. Stonehenge is built in the manner of dozens of wooden henges scattered throughout Britain. There are other similar monuments scattered throughout Europe. It does not require the Minoans to explain that. Especially since he considers them a naval people. The equation of the Minoans with the Atlanteans is hardly a new idea. Unearthing Atlantis made the same assertion in a much more realistic and speculative manner.

The Lake Superior copper thing is the most extreme of his beliefs. It may come as a surprise to an ex-naval officer but facts have to be backed up. Finding a source of copper that matches the purity of copper implements does no more than suggest a possibility. When the possibility requires activity far beyond the capabilities of a Mediterranean Bronze Age civilization it becomes an impossibility. The Minoans existed on a few islands in the Mediterranean. They didn't have the human or financial resources necessary to create the massive fleet and permanent outposts that he describes, nor did they have a reason to. If one has to choose between a copper mine of reasonable purity only a few hundred miles away (in Turkey for example, where we know they existed), or one on the other side of the globe then which one would you expect them to choose? And how were they supposed to have known such a mine existed anyway? They would have to have had a colony there to begin with. It just doesn't make sense.

Other techniques for proving things include sailing around looking for landmarks from paintings. This at least sounds like a fun activity (especially for a naval man), but it just won't wash. He's searching for the main naval base, the 'Admiralty House', that he assumes existed. He assumes it existed because "without doubt the Minoan's military strength came from their navy." Since nothing is really known for sure about the Minoan military (there are no translated written sources) such an assertion is just an assumption. Certainly there's nothing surviving in their artwork to indicate the scale or organization of their forces or even whether they had a standing navy or simply commandeered merchant ships when needed. More to the point for his search, when Thera erupted it irrevocably changed the shape of the island. Half of it is now under water and the city itself is buried under hundreds of feet of ash that now forms part of the land and has changed the coastline of the remaining section of the island. So he's searching for a naval base that would be buried under hundreds of feet of earth in a landscape that has changed unrecognizably since the Minoans left it. Good luck with that.

But even he recognizes that Santorini can't account for all of Atlantis. So he posits that Plato's Atlantis is actually composed of three separate places:
1. "Atlantis' metropolis was really Santorini"
2. "The island in the Atlantic as big as Libya and Egypt was in fact America."
3. "Atlantis' manufacturing base and breadbasket was Crete."
So after thousands of years of entirely oral transmission these places were conflated into one. Again, no evidence. Just Plato's description (and possibly invention) of a prehistoric civilization for the purposes of a story on ethics, which has been taken way way too seriously by so many people. Atlantis is an attractive myth, so there are always going to be people trying to locate it. But the fact that none of them agree with each other should tell you something. So I'm ending this review by repeating his last words: "Most important of all - what do you think?" If you read this book make sure you do your own thinking, because the reasoning here is extremely sub-par.
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