This new title from New Page is a change-up for this blog, but I’m returning to an old interest: I read Barry Fell’s groundbreaking America B.C. in about 1992, and subscribed to a couple of newsletters.
The present work is a compendium of articles from the magazine “Ancient American,” of which Joseph was the founding editor. They cover all of the Americas, and show examples of possible “insertions” from Europe, Asia, North Africa, and the Pacific. Some of them are very intriguing, like the plausible story in Chapter 31, whereby the first European hot-air balloonist was actually copying a South American original. I want that one to be true!
As an Indian descendant, my feelings about some of the claims of European and other visitations are mixed, because there is often an overtone of “those ignorant Indians couldn’t have done that.” It’s very similar to the claim of Egyptians needing help from Atlanteans, or all of us needing help from aliens.
I’m not a specialist, so I am not going to try to pick apart any of the cases presented here (besides, only 3 or 4 out of the 45 chapters significantly triggered my bogometer). I will say that most of them are of better apparent quality than many of Fell’s examples: he was famous for seeing Ogham or Paleo-Hebrew wherever a rock was scratched. Several of the pieces are recapping current scientific studies in genetics, for example, and they add a lot to the overall emerging picture and to the credibility of the book.
There are the usual speculative pieces on Atlantis, but fortunately, not too many. Editor Joseph is a specialist in matters Atlantean, and has other books devoted to the lost continent.
There are several mentions of lost evidence, such as a serpent mound on a lakeshore that was removed for a railroad trestle in the 19th century, plus the usual tales of evidence that went missing for less benign reasons. The many stories of archaeological dig leaders saying, “Bah, that’s an insertion” and throwing away critical evidence come to mind.
The writing and editing is very good throughout, which is not always true in this genre. There is one place where Dr. Fell is quoted as writing that the Sun was 180o from the horizon (which would, of course, put it at the other horizon, not what was meant in context). There is also an irritating habit of writing “square acres” when the acre is already a square measure. That’s very little in a book this size.
So, even if 90% of this book were guesswork and traveler’s tales (which I don’t personally believe), it’s worth the freight for entertainment and mental gymnastics. I recommend it for readers with an interest in prehistoric America, or for ancient mysteries in general. I especially recommend it to first-time explorers of the subject, who will appreciate the breadth-first approach.
The Lost Worlds of Ancient America
Compelling Evidence of Ancient Immigrants, Lost Technologies, and Places of Power
Editor: Frank Joseph
Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches
[Complimentary review copy gratefully acknowledged, opinions my own, YMMV, etc.]