Twilight of the Gods, by Erich von Daniken (Softcover, 2011)|
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Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
His iconic book, Chariot of the Gods, not only fueled a counterculture but
also became a hit in the main culture. Even after some three dozen books, Erich
von Daniken continues to enrapt readers with his provocative thinking,
irrefutable evidence, and clear logic. Plus some anomalies that have astute
Whether his information and conclusions are correct is almost irrelevant to
many readers (count me in that group). His books are always worth reading,
because they are a pleasure to read. Even with so many books under his belt, von Daniken has written yet another jewel.
Not that it doesn't have its problems. For example:
- The subtitle indicates this book is about something the Mayan calendar
will reveal to us. With the 2012 date being so talked about right now (the
2012 movie, related movies on that theme, the Obama mess, alleged signs of
the end times, the peasantry uprisings all over the world, the water
shortage, etc.), the Mayan calendar is merely a side issue in the book.
- His facts aren't always correct. This is a recurring von Daniken problem. Unfortunately, these errors are what his detractors
jump on to discredit him and to claim his irrefutable facts aren't worth
- Spelling and grammar errors abound. American authors, who aren't
required to learn Standard Written English in school, can perhaps be
forgiven for this. But von Daniken went to German schools, which require students to understand
spelling and grammar. I would think that by now von Daniken could have
transferred his language structure knowledge over to his practice of English
(which is a Germanic language, after all). OK, some sarcasm there. But note
to all publishers: please hire a copyeditor; in today's economy, they work
cheap. Er, cheaply.
- Dubious sources. Amazingly, he builds an argument based on the contents of the Book of Mormon.
Why is that last bullet point an issue? Well, let's talk facts. Anyone
closely examining the syntax in the BoM can see it attempts to mimic the syntax
of the King James Bible, but does so with many errors. If this book is the
recording of tablets revealed by an angel, why the errors? Exactly.
The errors exist because Joseph Smith tried to "sound" authentic. At the time he
wrote this book, many English speaking Protestants thought the language of the
King James Bible was how God actually talked. Not Latin, Aramaic, Greek, or
Hebrew. No, God spoke in 1611 English because any dern fool can see that's what
the Bible's writ in.
Even today, many Protestants use "thee" and "thou" in religious
contexts/settings because, to quote one Arkansan, "Them's reverent words." As he wasn't well-educated, Joseph Smith didn't know any different. His Bible knowledge gap, which of course an angel would not have, shows in the clumsy construction and mangled syntax of what he wrote. You don't
have to be a linguist to see this. It's yet another example of how von Daniken
doesn't practice discernment in looking at sources.
It would be nice if von Daniken didn't make these kinds of errors, but long-time
von Daniken fans are used to it and keep coming back for more. Over the years, von Daniken has repeatedly used errors of fact in making his arguments. In this
book, he does that yet again. However, he also has incontrovertible facts and
where those undergird his arguments he makes a solid case. As is his custom. He
also relies more heavily on actual artifacts than on theory or reconstructions.
In this book, he's included a large number of photos of such artifacts.
Yes, von Daniken is controversial. That does make his books entertaining. But that
isn't their only value. He also raises questions that are impossible to answer
via our current "book of knowledge." His "alternative" explanation, namely
extraterrestrials, becomes the only sensible explanation almost by default.
While von Daniken does not always get his facts right, there is a fact that is yet
again proven by this book. The purchase of a von Daniken book is never a waste of money.
This book spans 195 pages, consists of 5 chapters, includes many interesting
drawings, and includes many amazing photographs of actual sites and actual