Out Of Place In Time And Space, by Lamont Wood (Softcover, 2011)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The subject matter is "off the beaten path,"
giving the reader something different from the normal fare. I also like Mr.
Wood's writing style, which is conversational yet credible. His subtle use of
humor also adds to the reading experience.
Prior to reading the book, I had steeled myself to possibly reading something
that tries to build false "facts" out of minor coincidences. I'm happy to report
that is not at all how Mr. Wood went about things.
Mr. Wood's approach was to look at the facts surrounding various artifacts or
beliefs from the past and address the dominant theories and conjectures about
them. In most cases, he debunked theories and conjectures using logic and/or
Many ideas about past artifacts don't stand up to such scrutiny (much like
common beliefs today!). In some cases, Mr. Wood presented the truth. In other
cases, he didn't have the facts to arrive at a soundly-reasoned conclusion so he
presented no conclusion.
His sound research and solid analyses showed respect for the subjects covered
and for the reader. While the facts he discloses may not be of practical value
to the reader, they are interesting facts nonetheless. Learning from his example
and methodology is of practical value to the reader. Too many people are
gullible because they aren't familiar with the analysis process.
The blurb on the back jacket of the book is an accurate reflection of how the
author approaches journalistic investigation. That's a rare approach today, but
it's good to see it's not altogether gone.
By odd coincidence, while I was reading this book I also happened to read an
article in the July 2011 issue of IEEE Computer Magazine. Chapter 2 of this book
is "The Ancient Computer," and an 8-page article beginning on page 32 of the
magazine discussed the process of decoding the mechanical programming of that
very artifact. Nothing in the article contradicts anything in the book.
The book also has a fair number of photos and illustrations that help with
understanding many of these topics. In some cases, the topics were not
inherently straightforward, and Mr. Wood provided the clear explanations to get
past that problem.
In the bibliography, I noticed a mix of sources of varying degrees of
credibility. Given how everything in the book seems coherent, I'm not sure this
is a problem from an authoritativeness standpoint. And the book doesn't have
footnotes or backnotes to specific sources for specific facts.
I have a keen eye for factual errors and spotted only one in this book. So
however he did it, Mr. Wood did his homework.
The error is a common one, and it's done in response to propaganda,
revisionist history, and custom. It's an error that people need to stop making
because the nature of that error perpetuates fraud. The war between the states
(begun in 1861) was not a civil war. It was a war of secession. A civil war is
one in which the insurgents try to seize the existing means of government. A war
of secession is when they try to leave the existing government and start their
own. To even "debate" this is absurd, as all of the evidence from the time
points to a war of secession and not an iota of it points to a civil war.
This book covers 40 historical anomalies in 204 pages. It has a short
biography and an index.