As a rule, I don’t take time to write reviews of things I don’t enjoy. There are exceptions to this as with any rule. These exceptions are due to my disappointment, due to either good reviews or my own enthusiasm and it failed to live up to my expectations. The latter is true in this review of Graham Hancock’s latest book, Magicians of the Gods. This is a follow up to Fingerprints of the Gods, a book he wrote in 1995, and I read and reviewed over the summer. If you’re interested, click on the highlighted full title. If I hadn’t enjoyed the Fingerprints, I wouldn’t have bothered with Magicians. I finished this a few minutes ago, so this is all fresh in my mind. Don’t worry, I won’t rant and rave about every little thing. I will point out what I expected, what the book appeared to promise, and how neither one met the mark.
This was to be a sequel to Fingerprints. It says as much on the inner cover of the dust jacket. That was what I was expecting to get, a book that continued what he had started. I expected to see how new information uncovered in the last twenty years tied in to and reinforced what he previously wrote. This almost appeared more like a huge ad for Fingerprints than in adding to it. Many times Hancock would mention Fingerprints, or one of his other books. Instead of giving a summary to familiarize someone who may not have read them, he says he’s already covered that in depth in such-and-such book, and if the reader wants to know what he’s talking about then they need to read (buy) that book first. I understand he might not have had room to include everything, but a summary of his point to clarify would have been helpful. Fingerprints is over 500 pages, and can be tedious at times. I forget stuff in the shuffle and need reminders. I don’t want to set one book down to get another book and search through it to remind myself.
Hancock discusses one thing, then says I won’t get into that now. He’ll discuss it later in another chapter. That drives me crazy. Why even bring it up then? It was important enough to mention it. Let us know why, don’t make us wait. We may forget because it didn’t seem important.
“The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilization.” That is the text on the dust jacket over the title. I hate to spoil things in reviews and I hate when reviews spoil things for me. I think he means for the lost wisdom to be hidden structures for later civilizations to find and how the lost civilization became lost. It could be the things he mentions to begin the last chapter. He talks about how the people of Earth brought all the destruction on themselves, and “the gods” took vengeance. Then he says once again how the first civilization became lost, and it can happen to us today. He gives his reasons, and they have nothing to do with religion.
I wanted this to be a true sequel to Fingerprints. It explored the creation myths and flood myths of various peoples in places spread far apart. I wanted and expected more of the same with new information tying these ideas even closer together. What we have instead is a book focusing on one cause of two events in our distant past, and two newly discovered ancient building sites that date back to those two events, with a few of the usual suspects. Hancock also spends a lot of time talking about a conspiracy to keep these new discoveries under wraps and stick to the old approved way of thinking. I agree, but he keeps going back to it instead of covering it once and showing the reasons for his thinking this way. Fingerprints of the Gods felt organic with tons of cool stories. Part Hunter Thompson gonzo journalism and part Indiana Jones. Magicians of the Gods felt forced in trying to get his points across to the reader instead of showing the vast similarities and letting the reader take away what they may and drawing their own conclusions. I’m still a fan, but I won’t be reading this one again soon.
Copyright © Drew Martin 2015