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.
©2011 Gavin Menzies (P)2011 HarperCollinsPublishers
Having not read the print of this, but read the print of 1421, I would say that listening to this book was even better than reading that one. Something about the way Menzies weaves together details, combined with the excellent voice of his reader, makes it almost like sitting and listening to a sailor tell tales of his time on the seas. Perhaps because his reader is also British, it almost feels as though the author is reading the book himself, to the point that it's more like he's telling you the story than writing it for someone else to read.
I love the way Menzies crafted this book almost like a novel. It has an attention point (his trip to Athens and the short trip to Crete), a constant foreshadowing of something surprising to come, and then a climax that would hardly be believable if it were actually in a novel. Truly, Menzies knows how to make history come to life in ways I have rarely seen before from novelists, let alone historians. As a second "best" element, I also appreciated how personal the tale was. He injects himself so fully into the story, and he connects parts of his own life to it in a way the echoes Tolkien's sidebar stories in the Lord of the Rings. One minute I'm reading about this ancient people and their imported hippo teeth, and the next he's pointing out why that matters to him because of a drunken excursion to hunt hippos one night. That element brought 1421 to life for me, and it definitely came through in this book.
As there aren't really "characters" so much in a historical novel, this question might ordinarily seem not to apply. Still, because he is British and reading for Menzies, it almost feels at times as though he is reflecting Menzies himself - he is portraying the character of the author reading his book. Jackson does not read it in a monotone, as though he was simply reporting what is on the page, but effects enough emotion and tone that it really feels like a story. Having listened to other non-fiction audiobooks before, I can say that Jackson is quite good at his craft and far superior to some who do simply seem to read blandly with little real connection to the work itself.
The title makes an excellent tagline, quite frankly. Menzies does a great job of catching the eye with his titles. I say that because his first book did just that to me some years ago as I was just wandering through a bookstore looking for something to read. 1421, The Year China Discovered America, certainly jumped off the shelf for me. In this case, The Lost Empire of Atlantis, History's Greatest Mystery Revealed, similarly accomplishes that tagline element. I had been considering this book for some time, but I couldn't find time to read it, so I was very greatful to find it on Audible.
To anyone who has ever felt history is boring, dry, and lifeless, I highly recommend the work of Gavin Menzies. In a world where so few people read, and even fewer read non-fiction, Menzies and David McCollough prove that history can be better than movies, television, and even novels when crafted together eloquently. David McCollough has been one of my favorite storytellers, and I have often told friends that he could read a phone book to someone and sound interesting. I never expected to find anyone equal to his oral talent as a historian. Menzies is definitely the first person I have ever placed on his level, and his choice of reader may have greatly helped that. I wish he, like McCollough, might read his own work just once - if only an introduction or an epilogue - to give me a chance to truly compare these two great writers of history. For now, I will at least say Menzies knows how to write an incredible story filled with facts, references, speculations, and intrigue that leave readers and listeners begging for more.
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