Saturday, March 24, 2012

Minoans in North America?

Book Review: The Lost Empire of Atlantis - Gavin Menzies

Title: The Lost Empire of Atlantis: History’s Greatest Mystery Revealed
Author: Gavin Menzies
ISBN: 9780062049483
Pages: 400
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: History, Travel, Non-Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5
Famed historian Gavin Menzies was on vacation, recovering from the process of writing his last book, when he stumbled upon the subject for his next one. Menzies tackles the Minoan Empire, an ancient culture based on the island of Crete, and argues that it was the downfall of their civilization that inspired the Atlantis legend.
The Lost Empire of Atlantis is part-history, part-theory, and part-travelogue. In his book, Menzies attempts to reconstruct the Minoan civilization, a culture that is still something of a mystery to us today.  He shows us that they were extremely advanced for their time and postulates that they traveled farther than anyone has ever suspected - from India to North America.  Menzies’ basis for this surprising claim rests more on connections made between sporadic pieces of evidence than on any solid foundation.  His enthusiasm is infectious, and while readers will appreciate his passion for the subject, his logic isn’t entirely convincing.
Still, the theory Menzies puts forward is certainly interesting and will make readers question the history they’ve been taught.  His conjecture that the Atlantean Empire was one and the same as the Minoan Empire is actually very compelling.  It’s not the first - or the last - time this theory has been brought forward, but Menzies examines the evidence in what seems to be a new and intriguing way.  There is no proof here, but it’s much more convincing than his leaps of faith concerning the Minoans’ worldwide travel.
Menzies also injects himself into The Lost Empire of Atlantis by writing it as a sort of travelogue.  As he journeys to all the places he believes the Minoans had a presence, he writes with vivid descriptions.  As a result, this isn’t just a history book; the travel aspects of it make it very engaging and easy to read.  Additionally, through the narration of his travel, Menzies makes it clear that he exhausted all research on the subject, something that is made evident by the amount of detail in the book.
While The Lost Empire of Atlantis isn’t perfect, it certainly is an entertaining read for any history buff.  If you have always been enchanted by the myth of Atlantis, or you are itching for a good travelogue, this is a solid choice.  Perhaps you will be convinced by Menzies’ logic, but even if you aren’t, he puts forward an intriguing theory that is worth further exploration.


  1. I am reading this book now and find it very interesting.

  2. Very glad to hear it, Lorraine.