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Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization [Paperback]

Graham Hancock
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 28 2003
From Graham Hancock, bestselling author of Fingerprints of the Gods, comes a mesmerizing book that takes us on a captivating underwater voyage to find the ruins of a lost civilization that’s been hidden for thousands of years beneath the world’s oceans.

While Graham Hancock is no stranger to stirring up heated controversy among scientific experts, his books and television documentaries have intrigued millions of people around the world and influenced many to rethink their views about the origins of human civilization. Now he returns with an explosive new work of archaeological detection. In Underworld, Hancock continues his remarkable quest underwater, where, according to almost a thousand ancient myths from every part of the globe, the ruins of a lost civilization, obliterated in a universal flood, are to be found.

Guided by cutting-edge science and the latest archaeological scholarship, Hancock begins his mission to discover the truth about these myths and examines the mystery at the end of the last Ice Age. As the glaciers melted between 17,000 and 7,000 years ago, sea levels rose and more than 15 million square miles of habitable land were submerged underwater, resulting in a radical change to the Earth’s shape and the conditions in which people could live. Using the latest computer techniques to map the world’s changing coastlines, Hancock finds astonishing correspondences with the ancient flood myths.

Filled with thrilling accounts of his own participation in dives off the coast of Japan, as well as in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the Arabian Sea, we watch as Hancock discovers underwater ruins exactly where the myths say they should be—sunken kingdoms that archaeologists never thought existed. Fans of Hancock’s previous adventures will find themselves immersed in Underworld, a provocative book that provides both compelling hard evidence for a fascinating, forgotten episode in human history and a completely new explanation for the origins of civilization as we know it.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Already a huge success in England, this lengthy and at times quite academic study extends the basic argument of Hancock's 1994 Fingerprints of the Gods, a wild combination of astronomy, archeology, geology and folk myth whose worldwide success made Hancock perhaps the most popular proponent of "alternative history" as well as a publishing phenomenon. Hancock's basic thesis is simple: although mainstream scholars refuse to believe it, there once was "a lost civilization destroyed in the cataclysmic global floods that brought the last Ice Age to an end," and the survivors passed on their knowledge to the newer ancient civilizations with which we are more familiar. The search for an "Indian Atlantis" is the basis for this book, which is structured around Hancock's exploration of underwater sites near India, Japan, Taiwan and China, and in the Arabian and Mediterranean Seas. As usual, Hancock wonderfully introduces the general reader to Indian and Japanese subcultures; however, his reliance primarily on works by local alternative historians many of whose views have been clearly refuted by other scientists while ignoring almost anything that refutes his own thesis undercuts his credibility. In his effort to present his step-by-step discoveries in the style of a "whodunit," Hancock remains an entertaining writer and an interesting cultural journalist. But while the exploration of undersea prehistoric sites is a fascinating and ongoing research area, and Hancock's main contribution to the subject his theories continues to make him a successful writer, his works have been relegated to marginalia.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Hancock has reportedly sold several million copies of his books touting earlier origins to civilization than is the general consensus. He believes that civilization rose about 17,000 years ago (rather than about 6,000) and vanished beneath a rising sea level, leaving its traces in flood myths in Sumerian and Vedic texts, in early maps of the Age of Discovery, and more plausibly, in submerged ruins. Hancock throws up a fantastic amount of data on these points in this work, ranging from his personal textual interpretations to his dives at coastal sites in Malta, India, Japan, and the Bahamas. Perhaps Hancock's what-if, adventuring style will again prove commercially successful, if not intellectually persuasive to archaeologists, but the poor organization of this work may daunt the otherwise enthusiastic. Discursive and speculative, it expands the meaning of open-minded and could have been pruned without harm (Hancock prints scads of his correspondence and interviews verbatim). However, rebels always attract attention--and Hancock has already proven that he can. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Discovering evidence of submerged ancient cities July 19 2006
By Peter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Graham Hancock continues his pursuit of uncovering lost civilizations, this time under the sea. He takes us on a journey through the Mediterranean, the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, Bay of Bengal and the Pacific Ocean around Indonesia, Japan and Taiwan by looking at underwater structures that might be of human origin.

I'm pleased to note that the government of India has recently authenticated two of his discoveries off the coast of India. In both cases, these structures are dated between 9000 and 11 000 years before the current era, which supports the hypothesis of a great flood that submerged vast areas of up-to-then habitable land.

What I really like about Hancock as author is that he also provides the orthodox view at the same time as his own theories. I cannot but agree with his statement, "There's something wrong with the underpinning of history." Hancock has indicated the most likely places for pre-flood civilizations with the help of Dr. Glen Milne of Durham University who is an expert on glaciation-induced changes in the sea level, and taking into account the plethora of flood-myths found amongst all cultures on all continents.

Underworld is lavishly illustrated and well served by a thorough index and extensive bibliography. This interesting if overly detailed text will amply reward the reader who enjoyed Hancock's earlier titles like Keepers of Genesis and Fingerprints of the Gods.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underworld Aug. 11 2010
Format:Paperback
Very interesting subject matter for those people who want to know more about the beginnings of civilization. Hancock does a good job of research on his subject, but in his usual style, he spends too much time repeating the same thing in different ways. Obviously, a manmade structure sitting 23 metres under the ocean has been there for a very long time, no need to labour the point.
'Fingerprints of the Gods' was better reading because it moved to different subjects and places.
The book arrived in only 3 days which surprised me, and in excellent condition for a used book.
Overall I am very happy with my purchase.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bring Your Specs Jan. 22 2011
Format:Paperback
An intriguing premise well documented. My sole complaint is that I need a magnifying glass to read the unusually small text. Just about the smallest I've come across this side of a finance department spreadsheet.
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