Today is release day for Graham Hancock's new book Magicians of the Gods (2015), the sequel to his 1995 bestseller Fingerprints of the Gods. Thomas Dunne, his U.S. publisher, provided me with an advance copy. There is no embargo on reviewing the book, so I have posted my review today, timed to the U.K. release. The American release isn't until November. Because the review is very long, I've made a separate page for it, and you can read my full review here. Enjoy!
busterggi (Bob Jase)
9/10/2015 03:02:57 pm
And some folks criticize HPL and REH for being racists - at least they have the excuse that they lived almost seventy years ago.
9/10/2015 05:00:11 pm
Now let's see how popular Magicians of the Gods will be.
9/10/2015 05:04:14 pm
It will inevitably do decently well. Hancock was on the BBC's Breakfast show promoting it, and only a handful of books get that kind of publicity. Here in the U.S., it's already Amazon's #1 bestseller in the prehistory category. (But: My Ancient Aliens book was #1 in its category, too, so that doesn't really mean much.)
9/10/2015 11:22:15 pm
9/11/2015 12:27:32 am
Anyone else less than surprised that Hancock's little followers don't have very good reading comprehension?
9/11/2015 01:34:00 am
Does Jason regard Herodotus to be a reliable source of history? Yes or no?
9/11/2015 02:41:35 am
"Does Jason regard ______ to be a reliable source of history? Yes or no?"
9/11/2015 09:15:31 pm
Granted that Michael is simply trolling, but there is a good reason that I mentioned Manetho: Herodotus' testimony alone isn't enough to establish that something is true, or even worth considering whether it might be true. His testimony is supported, though, by Manetho, Diodorus, Africanus, and others. Interestingly, Herodotus and Diodorus are both wrong in placing the pyramids after Ramses III of the 20th dynasty while assigning them to similar names (Cheops / Chemmis). However, Herodotus' discussion of the relationships between the pharaohs allow us to correlate his testimony with Manetho's dynasties (where Africanus confirms that Suphis/Khufu built the Great Pyramid). Thus, it is Manetho whose work is actually the foundation for identifying the builder, and his king list is correlated with the hieroglyphic inscriptions to match kings.
11/23/2015 06:45:05 pm
"My book" "before I was born" "when I was only 9". I'm not devoted to any theory nor have I even heard of Hancock until today (never heard of you either :( ). So it is my unbiased observation that your ego constructs your opinion of of other authors. It's not all about you sir. Either way it doesn't matter to me. You lost my interest as soon as you admitted to not understanding references to science publications. You literally complained that Hancock didn't dumb it down for you. Why should we care about your review anyway? Oh that's right, because you are also an author and you have a book, and you, not to mention you, but let's not forget you.
9/10/2015 05:10:22 pm
Thanks for reading it so I don't have to. I'm surprised how much seems to have been recycled from Andrew Collins, though with a coastal civilization subbed in for the Swiderian culture. I'd love to get either of those guys to actually explain what the features of the "lost civilization" actually are, besides "astronomical knowledge." Did they have buildings? Where are they? I'm guessing Hancock will just say underwater (really, they built nothing inland?), while Collins is dead set on ignoring all the real archeology that's been done on neolithic Poland.
12/15/2015 03:00:39 pm
He actually does describe his purported lost civilization, spending several chapters on the subject. He refers to megalithic architecture, a central temple with huge canals, a "lighthouse" of some type and that it was built on an island. He does state that they didn't build inland because they were an sea-faring culture, or that when building on the mainland they only focused on the coast. How reasonable that is can definitely be questioned, but it was addressed. Additionally, he claims to have found evidence of these in his dives; pictures of which he has posted on his website. Again, a lack of expertise on my part stops me from making any definitive statements, but he attempts to address your concerns.
9/10/2015 10:24:48 pm
1) No ideas of his own. Check.
9/11/2015 01:34:52 am
Yay! Thanks, Jason, I appreciate the in-depth review. I got a late start on reading it today, so I'm only about half way through right now, but I'm already amused. I like how Hancock treats Edgar Cayce as if he were a real psychic, but apparently not a very good one, considering he failed to differentiate between Egypt and Indonesia when reporting on the Hall of Records.
9/11/2015 03:08:03 am
I wouldn't put too much in Hancock going on the BBC to promote his book - he sued (and won) over the rebuttal programme to a documentary he made a couple of decades ago. Perhaps the settlement was, he gets free publicity time for any new books he writes.
9/11/2015 09:09:27 am
I read "Fingerprints" years ago and found it entertaining but lacking in any proof. My distaste for the fringe genre keeps me from reading anything else in that genre regardless of who is the author. They're all the same ilk and I question if they even believe the garbage they spew forth and are doing so only to make money.
9/11/2015 09:25:34 am
Just an editing note:
9/11/2015 09:43:40 am
I did. I'll fix it. Thanks.
Duke of URL
9/11/2015 11:53:48 am
Oh, I don't know - going apocalyptic would be even more ragey than just having apoplexy...
9/11/2015 01:33:46 pm
Apocalyptic rage has the "Wrath of Jason" vibe.
9/11/2015 10:49:55 am
"He goes on to re-litigate his contention from Mystery of the Sphinx (1996)"
9/11/2015 11:51:53 am
It is. I must have been thinking of the documentary.
9/11/2015 07:21:31 pm
I'm not sure what is more difficult to understand...people who don't take the show Ancient Aliens with a grain of salt (let's be honest it's high comedy with great high quality footage from great sites) or "debunkers" who spend their time trying to convince themselves that they are rational human beings with a monopoly on said rationality.
terry the censor
9/16/2015 01:22:32 am
> they are rational human beings with a monopoly on said rationality.
11/21/2015 10:49:55 am
It is when facts are simply checked against current contentions. Fact checking is about falsification of stated facts not just the mocking of them..
9/11/2015 07:26:04 pm
The book is by its very nature speculative, a circumstantial case. ANYONE writing a book on this topic is inherently working with a mantra of "what would really be left even if there was a civilization in remote prehistory" looming over their work. Some of what Hancock has written deserves a review like this, with all its snarky irritation in tow (Mars Mystery sans the bollide objects sections) but if this is anything like fingerprints it's an intelligently written entertaining jaunt through history that again, is totally speculative for basically anyone tackling it. Everything pre-Younger Dryas regarding humans and social behavior is guesswork...to say the very least.
9/11/2015 09:08:57 pm
I judge fringe books on two criteria: (a) did the book make a convincing case, and (b) is the book fun to read? Hancock's "Fingerprints" failed (a) but passed (b) admirably. "Magicians" failed both (a) and (b), and the failure of (b) was especially disappointing. The large blocks of pasted in, undigested scientific abstracts and incessant self-referencing of his 20-year-old "Fingerprints" made this less than engaging.
9/12/2015 12:50:51 am
Just a quick question, and it's sort of a "gotcha" one so I apologize in advance...what is your opinion on the die off of animals at the end of the last ice age where the planet lost about 125 species of mammal over 100lbs in body weight? I only ask this because I'm not super familiar with your work, there are basically two camps people fall into with this question in my experience and speaks to how one would approach a book like this. No nuance required either, even though it is a bit of a complicated question in details. Overkill or "other"? Or even better, did overkill play a major part?
9/12/2015 02:11:41 am
drewbert, as I understand it, there are four main competing theories that seek to explain the Quaternary extinction event: (a) overkill (b) climate change (c) hyperdisease and (d) asteroid/comet. You also have the continentality and second-order predation hypotheses. All have arguments for and against, but I think it's generally accepted that these causes are not mutually exclusive.
12/11/2015 04:14:31 pm
Hi Drewbert, Only me -
9/12/2015 01:38:35 pm
ONLY ME, thanks for the input. You have posited 2 competing theories, not 4. Cometary impact accounts for b,c and d. Overkill is nonsense, both from an evidence angle and a logic point of view (some estimates even have the world being populated by more mammoths than humans at that time) and is frankly just an old vestige of a theory from a time when we didn't have the requisite knowledge about the specifics of the Younger Dryas, regardless of it's initial onset cause.
9/12/2015 06:35:53 pm
Thanks to Joe Scales posting this link under another blog post,
9/13/2015 12:40:29 am
I'm not even going to get into the pseudoscience nonsense...I honestly don't think it applies to Hancock. He's offering possibilities and directed food for thought...he's not saying for a fact his premise is correct.
9/13/2015 01:29:12 am
>>>he's not saying for a fact his premise is correct<<<
11/9/2015 12:58:28 am
I'd like for you and all the others that are making very emotional and out of proportion attacks on Hancock's speculations to take a trip down memory lane and read the timeline of the archeological discovery of Troy.
You would be right, with you're comment, that Hancock's work is important, only to make people aware of the fakery of academics to
9/13/2015 01:58:42 am
his attitude is based on his long experience dealing with ad hom attacks.
12/11/2015 04:35:16 pm
Hi Drewbert -
9/13/2015 02:00:42 am
Hancock is presenting a TON of factual information in this book, he's an amazing synthesis writer for lay people. There is also a lot of speculation on his part...which is frankly why this book will sells boatloads of copies and other works that stick to the straight and narrow won't. He's not passing anything off regarding his own leaps in logic as pure fact. Never has.
9/13/2015 09:39:45 pm
I cannot take Hancock in any sense even remotely seriously has a thinker. To me he is the quintessential pseudoscientist. Virtually everything he writes can be dismissed has valueless.
10/6/2015 11:52:03 am
Surprising that such a long review is so shallow. There is a wealth of evidence established by "legitimate" archeologists and other scientists to back up most of Hancock's claims. You may disagree on how he connects the dots, but the dots themselves are pretty well established. And it is also a common fallacy to try to discredit an author simply by pointing out where his/her work treads the same ground as earlier discredited authors without actually considering how the arguments are different in their particulars. Hancock isn't offering definitive proof of anything, but he has certainly punched a truck-sized hole in the reasoning and conclusions of establishment science and offered compelling evidence to reconsider received wisdom.
2/5/2016 08:45:22 am
Absolutely, very shallow and definitively biased. Why even review him at all if you have such a low opinion of the man?
11/22/2015 03:37:03 pm
Excellent review: what I read of it at least.
I am not even going to comment,
12/9/2015 05:22:51 pm
You must have missed this:
1/8/2016 10:42:46 am
I was under the impression (perhaps mistaken) that Schoch's perspective was focused on the age of the Sphinx, not the pyramids. Ie that The Pyramids were constructed during the old kingdom period but that it was in fact the Sphinx which was older due to evidence of water erosion
12/9/2015 05:30:11 pm
My work notes on the two separate Holocene Start Impact Events:
2/8/2016 11:28:20 pm
I find this book difficult to read. Hancock has a lot of knowledge, no doubt. His intention to prove main stream archeology wrong takes him on an extensive journey through archeological and geological detail. This can be frustrating for a more spiritually minded reader who already has an understanding of Atlantis. A good book for skeptics of the Atlantis myth.
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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