Meet Me in Atlantis|
My Obsessive Quest to Find the Sunken City
Dutton, 306 pp, HC, $27.95
The cover art of this book caught my eye at the library...Greek gods appearing in an eruption of volcanic clouds, a space ship floating among faint concentric circles in the sky, a magnificent bull elephant looking lost and forlorn, and in the foreground, a menacing blue tide as in an eminent catastrophic flood. I'm not wedded to any particular theory of everything (who we are and how we got here), but if the cover art represented the book's contents, I was pretty sure that I'd get some info on quite a few of those theories while the author made his stab at chasing down the Atlantis myth.
Apparently Plato is behind the whole thing...he is the sole source of the seminal information that started this eons old speculation on the possibility of a lost city. No one would know it these days, though, because you'd have to be Methusala to get beyond the uncountable entrees on Google, et al on the Walt Disney movie "Atlantis" (109,000 to be exact). So when it comes right down to it, this book of conversations with those who have actively searched, laced with deductive speculation (is there such a thing...sure, ask Walt) is a refreshing eye-opener.
Adams actually goes directly to Plato, and after he's plumbed those depths, he travels widely in search of those rare academics who have spent their careers researching the subject in literature and on the ground. He writes with a confident yet politely speculative tone that is certainly caused by his dual familiarity with the great scientists who have addressed the subject of Atlantis, as well as the fringe theorists. Adams is comfortable enough to employ humor that posits the idea that a lot loonier theories have been launched to explain...well..."the world, the universe and everything". Carl Sagan, "among the grooviest and open-minded of astrophysicists, practically chokes on his turtleneck whenever given the chance to denounce one well known scientist's theories...This is a calamitous revision of history that 'infuriated scholars in almost every discipline imaginable.'"
I maintain that "Meet Me in Atlantis" is an entertaining and enlightening read which switches the brain function from information gathering to speculation and the bending of baseless certainty. We all need a little mental bump in the road occasionally. Just take another look at this book's cover. It, all by itself, is a wild ride and the book is similarly satisfying.