Graham Hancock's Magicians of the Gods
Twenty years after it was first published, Graham Hancock's wildly popular and amazingly thought provoking best seller 'Fingerprints of the God's' finally has a sequel in 'Magicians of the Gods', which in truth is both a continuation/follow up and at the same time it's own beast. It can stand on it's own, but is undeniably made richer if you are familiar with the earlier material and the academic and critical praise and turmoil that went with it.
While Fingerprints raised the question of a possible 'lost chapter in human history' his 'crustal displacement' theory, while still within the bounds of science, did seem a rather dramatic mechanism by which his lost civilization was laid to ruin. Now of course it may indeed turn out to be correct, but what is more likely, and as he details in the book, is a lot more evidence for, is a spectacular set of impacts from fragments of a giant comet that would have set off an astonishing set of events.
While Hancock is a journalist researcher and not a scientist, it would be disingenuous to say he does not know his stuff. Hancock packs a load of information into this book, but in doing so infuses it with a sense of wonder and adventure.
Graham at a speaking event in Toronto, Canada
Hancock Walks the Walk
One of the most exciting things about this book, and indeed all of Hancock's work, is the amount of hands on, sometimes daring field research he does in the course of putting together his globe trotting books.
For those who don't know, before he started writing about ancient mysteries and lost civilizations, Hancock was the East Africa corespondent for the Economist.
Despite his mild mannered appearance, Hancock has traveled to war zones,dove to the bottom of the ocean, climbed to the top of the Giza pyramid and immersed himself in the rituals and deeply psychoactive brews of shamanistic cultures all in the interest of finding answers.
In the end he may be proven to be wrong, but he most certainly is not a dreamer sitting at home and making things up.
Magicians vs Fingerprints
While much is covered in both books, I feel that perhaps Fingerprints painted with a broader brush of amazing and thought provoking ideas and questions, whereas Magicians might talk about fewer things, but talks about them very well, and really goes a long way to tie up what might be considered loose ends in Fingerprints while also building on earlier ideas.
Overall it is informative, but a quick easy read, that makes you feel you have been let in to take part in an adventure.
This book is also a clear indication that Hancock has developed a boat load more savvy in dealing with his detractors.
Not that he wasn't on to their nasty antics from the get go, but simply that he has gotten really good at neutralizing them and challenging them, without being forced to sound like some mad man.
Hancock may be right or wrong. You may support or dismiss his ideas/questions regarding human history, but the days of simply poo-pooing him are left only to the painfully obstinate and unimaginative.
Graham's Detractors and the 'Woo' Factor
Make no mistakes about it, the mainstream of academia, archaeology in particular, do not like Graham Hancock, foisting upon him such ad hominem epithets as 'Atalantologist' or 'Pyramidiot' or simply dismiss him as a 'pseudo-scientist'.
No doubt this sort of mean spirited piggishness would have raised Hancock's hackles in the past. Now, almost weary from the ludicrousness of it all, just calmly explains that he has never, ever not once called himself a scientist, and that he does not say with 100% certainty that he is correct (although more and more it is looking like he is), he simply thinks that there is enough out there to raise questions that we should be seeking answers for, rather than ignoring.
Especially, it may be added, if these questions and ideas are being sidelined due to reasons of politics and ego.
Quite simply put, there is no 'woo' in Magicians of the Gods. There may be moments of speculation on his part, but beyond that everything he presents in the book is backed up by authentic, published science.
He may not be a fully accredited scientist himself, but that foes not prevent him from understanding and using it to full effect to support his ideas.
He does so, and in doing so strikes a few solid body blows against those who would dismiss him out of hand.
If you are new to Hancock's work or may have a negative impression, it would be suggested that you go in with an open mind, and actually read his material.
Hancock himself is a very open minded individual, but what this book most certainly is not, is any notion of 'ancient aliens' or 'pyramid power'.
"yes," you might implore "But he talks about Atlantis!"
To which the reply would be, there is a lot of good science that makes it very plausible. In the end, read the book and decide for yourself.