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WesternSFA


Meet Me in Atlantis:
Across Three Continents in Search of the Legendary Sunken City
by Mark Adam
Dutton; $16; 306 pp
Published: April 2016

This book was so entertaining—a terrific weekend read. Writer Mark Adam goes in search of Atlantis and talks to those experts in Atlantology who have definite ideas where the fabled city of Plato’s writings actually might have been situated.

We go to Cadiz, Spain and the Donana National Park, the isle of Malta, the fabled Aegean isle of Santorini, and Agadir, Morocco, along with stops in Athens and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts. What’s not to love? Adams makes trips to all these sites and talks to the various experts who claim these sites have the strongest resemblance to the few clues about Atlantis that Plato revealed in the Timaeus, a dialogue Plato wrote as a sort of sequel to his classic The Republic, according to Adam, and the Critias.

I have always loved archeology and the search through history’s ruins, the bits and shards of the past that we try to reconstruct whole civilizations out of that this book was a terrific wander through mostly the Mediterranean, with a side stop beyond the Pillars of Hercules (Gibraltar) in Spain.  Adam presents each expert’s theory clearly and goes to visit each site personally. He also gets opposing views…okay…more like objective views on whether the current expert’s theory could hold water. There are specific things the sites for Atlantis needs to have in some combination: close to water, concentric rings encircling a central hill (this is how Plato says Atlantis as a city was constructed), signs of a sudden inundation of the vicious tsunami variety, some sign of ancient civilization.

He explores myths and other writers’ published books on Atlantis. Most civilizations seem to have a myth about a Great Flood wiping everything clean. The ten plagues sent to Egypt in Moses’ time could have been caused by a violent volcanic explosion, aka Thera (or Santorini,) including the parting of the Red Sea—which is very similar to what happens when there is a tsunami: the waters pull away suddenly from the shore and then rush back in a tremendous flood destroying everything in its path. His research is fascinating. He weighs the pros and cons of each place and the strength of what it reveals that might make it the site for Atlantis.

There is also the mysterious collapse of civilizations across the known world (including China) that occurred around 1200 BC—lots of invasions and cities destroyed, ushering in a Dark Ages that sort of mirrors the destruction of the advanced civilization that Atlantis represented.

Utterly fascinating. And Adam has this easy to read, humorous writing style—that made this book just a delight. I so enjoyed seeing Malta with him and Dr. Misfud (a pediatrician and Atalantis scholar,) the exuberant Greek, George Nomikos on Santorini, Michael Hubner from Germany who analyzed data gleaned from Plato’s writings and decided it all pointed to a site near the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

Math, musical notes, statistics, exploding volcanoes and other cataclysmic events, the ruins of Knossos in Crete. Perhaps Adam’s conclusion is no real surprise, but the journey, the wonderful array of theories and historical events make this a terrific read. ~~ Sue Martin

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