Selected New Books, Videos & DVDs
New books 2005 - December
"Under Ancient Skies:
Ancient Astronomy and
by Paul Dunbavin
EU Edition Only
"In all of the world's myths and religions we find traditions of a Great Flood. There are stories too of a Golden Age: the antediluvian paradise that it destroyed. Might these be real memories of the ancient world? And how can we analyse the subject scientifically? The key to unlock these ancient myths lies in astronomy. "Under Ancient Skies" will examine the astronomical evidence for an ancient cataclysm and in the process will explore a number of related anomalies in prehistory, including: Was there a single great flood in human prehistory, or have there been many?
Could the workings of ancient calendars and the records of ancient eclipses give us clues about the Flood and the antediluvian world? Did the Celtic Druids use a calendar based on the orbit of Saturn; and is this the same antediluvian calendar as is described in Plato's myth of Atlantis? Do Hindu, Chinese and Mayan cosmology myths recall the years after the Flood when our world wobbled on its axis?
Geologists have recently found the crater in Yucatan, where an asteroid impact destroyed the world of the dinosaurs. Scientists and astronomers have stopped dismissing the theory that a comet could have struck the Earth during prehistory - but any suggestion that a comet impact just a few thousand years ago might have caused the Biblical Flood, remains the last taboo. It is time for this barrier too to be washed away. If you read this book and you understand it then be warned - it may scare you!"
New books 2005 - November
"Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient
Teachers of Mankind"
by Graham Hancock
"'Supernatural: of or relating to things that cannot be explained according to natural laws.' Less than 50,000 years ago mankind had no art, no religion, no sophisticated symbolism, no innovative thinking. Then, in a dramatic and electrifying change, described by scientists as 'the greatest riddle in human history', all the skills and qualities that we value most highly in ourselves appeared already fully formed, as though bestowed on us by hidden powers.
In Supernatural Graham Hancock sets out to investigate this mysterious 'before-and-after moment' and to discover the truth about the influences that gave birth to the modern human mind. His quest takes him on a journey of adventure and detection from the stunningly beautiful painted caves of prehistoric France, Spain and Italy to remote rock shelters in the mountains of South Africa where he finds a treasure trove of extraordinary Stone Age art.
He uncovers clues that lead him to travel to the depths of the Amazon rainforest to drink the powerful plant hallucinogen Ayahuasca with Indian shamans, whose paintings contain images of 'supernatural beings' identical to the animal-human hybrids depicted in prehistoric caves and rock shelters. And hallucinogens such as mescaline, also produce visionary encounters with exactly the same beings.
Scientists at the cutting edge of consciousness research have begun to consider the possibility that such hallucinations may be real perceptions of other 'dimensions'. Could the 'supernaturals' first depicted in the painted caves and rock shelters be the ancient teachers of mankind? Could it be that human evolution is not just the 'blind', 'meaningless' process that Darwin identified, but something else, more purposive and Intelligent, that we have barely even begun to understand?"
New books 2005 - September
"Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer's Ithaca"
by Robert Bittlestone, James Diggle & John Underhill
"Where is the Ithaca described in such detail in Homer's Odyssey? The mystery has baffled scholars for over two millennia, particularly because Homer's descriptions bear little resemblance to the modern island called Ithaki. This highly illustrated book tells the extraordinary story of the exciting recent discovery of the true location of Homer's Ithaca by following a detective trail of literary, geological and archaeological clues.
We can now identify all the places on the island that are mentioned in the epic--even the site of Odysseus' palace itself. The pages of the Odyssey come alive as we follow its events through a landscape that opens up before our eyes via glorious color photographs and 3-D satellite images.
Over a century after Schliemann's discovery of Troy, the information in this groundbreaking volume will revolutionize our understanding of Homer's text and of our cultural ancestors in Bronze Age Greece."
"The Celtic Gods: Comets in Irish Mythology"
by Patrick McCafferty & Mike Baillie
"The Celtic myths, involving heroic warriors such as Finn and CuChulinn, can be read as simple primitive stories, but closer examination reveals strange descriptions and relationships.
The authors of this ground-breaking book argue that all the principal characters are aspects of the one Celtic sky god, Lugh, who was a comet. Against the background of a comet scenario this re-interpretation of about ten key Celtic myths shows how many of the descriptions in the myths fit the appearance of comets.
The fact that these comets on occasions produced abrupt environmental changes, that can be traced in the tree-ring and ice-core chronologies, pins the stories to a central reality. With a novel twist this original book confirms the widespread belief that these stories must contain a 'core of truth'."
"The Serpent Grail: The Truth Behind the Holy Grail,
the Philosopher's Stone and the Elixir of Life"
by Philip Gardiner & Gary Osborn
"Using a combination of the latest historical and scientific research The Serpent Grail brings to light the truth behind Grail – a truth that is far removed from both received Christian beliefs and alternative interpretations made popular by the Da Vinci Code.
This book will tap in to the current obsession with the Grail. Yet it will blow the bloodline theory of Dan Brown’s best-seller out of the water and prove that the origin of the modern grail legend has its root centuries before Christ’s passion.
The Serpent Grail traces the origins of the grail back to Sumerian times and connects it with a powerful serpent worshipping cult that spread from Sumer to the West. This cult both worshipped the serpent as a symbol of wisdom and held a secret knowledge of the life-giving properties of snake venom:
Using a 'sacred' chalice initiates drank a mixture of venom and blood from the same snake in ceremonial worship of the serpent deity. By taking this elixir the cult’s initiates were cured of disease and, it is claimed, their lives were prolonged. Indeed, Gardiner and Osborn believe that this is the root source of the Elixir of Life legend."
New books 2005 - August
"1491: New Revelations of the Americas
by Charles C. Mann
"1491 is not so much the story of a year, as of what that year stands for: the long-debated (and often-dismissed) question of what human civilization in the Americas was like before the Europeans crashed the party. The history books most Americans were (and still are) raised on describe the continents before Columbus as a vast, underused territory, sparsely populated by primitives whose cultures would inevitably bow before the advanced technologies of the Europeans.
For decades, though, among the archaeologists, anthropologists, paleolinguists, and others whose discoveries Charles C. Mann brings together in 1491, different stories have been emerging. Among the revelations: the first Americans may not have come over the Bering land bridge around 12,000 B.C. but by boat along the Pacific coast 10 or even 20 thousand years earlier; the Americas were a far more urban, more populated, and more technologically advanced region than generally assumed; and the Indians, rather than living in static harmony with nature, radically engineered the landscape across the continents, to the point that even "timeless" natural features like the Amazon rainforest can be seen as products of human intervention.
Mann is well aware that much of the history he relates is necessarily speculative, the product of pot-shard interpretation and precise scientific measurements that often end up being radically revised in later decades. But the most compelling of his eye-opening revisionist stories are among the best-founded: the stories of early American-European contact."
New books June 2005
"Bill Wyman's Treasure Islands: Britain's
by Bill Wyman & Richard Havers
"Bill Wyman's Treasure Islands is the who, what, when, where, why and how of historical treasures found in Great Britain and Ireland. Since humans first lived on these shores literally millions of things have been buried, thrown away or simply lost. Today many of these items are incredibly valuable, both in monetary terms and as historical artefacts.
More than half of the important discoveries over the years have been accidental finds, many with fascinating stories behind them and all adding to our knowledge of life in the past. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the exciting discoveries made by amateur and professional archaeologists and what they tell us about the history of the British Isles will find this book a stimulating and entertaining companion.
With copious colour and black and white illustrations, detailed maps, time lines, lists of museums and useful organisations, Bill Wyman's Treasure Islands is itself a treasure trove for the beginner or the more experienced archaeological explorer."
New books May 2005
"The Science of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
by Michael Hanlon
"Ever wondered what the end of the universe might actually look like? Why the number 42 is so significant? Or whether time travel really would put a stop to history as we know it? If so you are clearly a fan of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, releasing as a major motion picture in the summer of 2005.
While much of the book is comprised of whimsical fantasy, such as talking mattresses, the Vogons, triple-breasted prostitutes and that Ol' Janx Spirit, like all good science fiction it drew on scientific fact. Adams was a science and technology enthusiast and his books were inspired--and sometimes, prefigured--by many of the great scientific debates of our times.
The Science of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a lighthearted, accessible and informative tour of the real cutting-edge research behind this much-loved classic, including space tourism, parallel universes, instant translation devices, sentient computers, and more."
"The Shining Ones: The World's Most
Powerful Secret Society"
by Philip Gardiner, John Gardiner &
Suzanne J Barbieri (Illustrator)
"The book is about a worldwide secret priesthood, who date as far back as 5000 years before Christ, and who have formed the modern world. All religions, all ancient monuments and all governments, including Royal lineages, have their background in the Shining Ones.
With the coming of the Millennium, interest in the spiritual aspect of life has risen, while at the same time, church attendance is at an all time low. Instead, ancient Earth-aligned beliefs, in the guise of the New Age movement, are enjoying a rise in popularity.
That there should be a return to 'old ways' is not surprising when we discover that these beliefs are not so outdated after all, that the practises denounced as pagan actually form the basis of 'orthodox' religions such as Christianity.
Mankind is more in-tune with the Universe than we realise, and the cyclical nature of the Earth tells us that we are on the threshold of a new beginning. The world is waiting for a new Messiah to show us the way. Whether he or she comes from the religious arena, or the world of politics, one thing is sure: like the countless others who came before, this Messiah will have been nurtured, shaped and placed here by the Shining Ones."
New books March 2005
"Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators
and Human Evolution "
by Donna Hart & Robert Wald Sussman
"This astonishing new interpretation of fossil and living primates reveals that humans evolved not as hunters, but as hunted prey Although 'Man the Hunter' is a popular description of our ancestry, the central importance of hunting is firmly fixed only in the archaeological record of relatively recent human history.
Man the Hunted argues that primates, including the earliest members of the human family, have evolved not as hunters but as the prey of any number of predators, including wild cats and dogs, hyenas, snakes, crocodiles, and even birds of prey.
Eyewitness accounts, data collected by the authors, and the published reports of naturalists establish the astonishing extent to which living monkeys, lemurs, apes, and even humans fall victim to a wide variety of predators, some of which even specialize in the consumption of primates. Additionally, the fossil record demonstrates that primates have been prey for millions of years, a fact that necessarily shaped the evolution of our earliest ancestors in body and behaviour."
"Turning The Hiram Key: Rituals Of
by Robert Lomas
"The latest book from Robert Lomas takes readers beyond The Hiram Key to reveal the secrets of the actual Masonic rituals. By deconstructing these rituals, Lomas discovers the true message behind them, a message that is as valid today as it was when the rituals were created. Not only will readers get a step-by-step, insider's look at each of these timeless rituals, they'll learn how they can benefit from them in today's world.
With Lomas as their guide, readers will learn: the hidden meanings behind the rituals; the true purpose of the spiritual journey that is freemasonry; the truth behind the postures, symbols, and tools of this fascinating craft; how to incorporate the inner mysteries of freemasonry into their daily lives.
'Turning the Hiram Key' also explores how these rituals have helped history's most accomplished men to reach their goals, from Louis Armstrong and Charles Lindbergh to George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt to John Wayne and Buzz Aldrin."
New books February 2005
"A Short History of Progress"
by Ronald Wright
"No hope, just an awareness of what's being done now and what's been done in the past, is what Ronald Wright will permit in A Short History of Progress, his grim, ammoniacal Massey Lectures, the 43rd in the series. In five lucid, meticulously documented essays, Wright traces the rise and plummet of four regional civilizations - those of Sumer, Rome, Easter Island, and the Maya - and judges that most, perhaps all, of humanity is making and will continue to make mistakes equally disastrous as theirs.
He gives general reasons first for not reckoning we'll pull back from the brink. Important among them is an anthropological observation. As individuals, we live long lives. We evolve more slowly than we should, given our lack of vision and our aggressive, selfish nature. We seem to lack the collective wisdom and the insight into cause and effect to realize the limits to what Wright calls the "experiment" of civilization. What Wright calls natural "subsidies" underwrite civilizations' successes.
The squandering of those gifts presages inevitable failure, but with careful, canny stewardship, a civilization can manage to muddle through eons. Wright cites Egypt's submission to the limits set by the Nile's annual floods and China's windblown "lump-sum deposit" of topsoil, used for hillside paddies instead of being put to the plough. Wright observes with unrelenting eloquence that our planetary civilization lives precariously, far beyond its means."
"The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and
the Texture of Reality"
by Brian Greene
"From Brian Greene, one of the world’s leading physicists, comes a grand tour of the universe that makes us look at reality in a completely different way. Space and time form the very fabric of the cosmos. Yet they remain among the most mysterious of concepts. Is space an entity? Why does time have a direction? Could the universe exist without space and time? Can we travel to the past?
Greene uses these questions to guide us toward modern science’s new and deeper understanding of the universe. From Newton’s unchanging realm in which space and time are absolute, to Einstein’s fluid conception of spacetime, to quantum mechanics’ entangled arena where vastly different objects can bridge their spatial separation to instantaneously coordinate their behavior or even undergo teleportation, Greene reveals our world to be very different from what common experience leads us to believe."
"The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to
the Laws of the Universe"
by Roger Penrose
"If Albert Einstein were alive, he would have a copy of The Road to Reality on his bookshelf. So would Isaac Newton. This may be the most complete mathematical explanation of the universe yet published, and Roger Penrose richly deserves the accolades he will receive for it. That said, let us be perfectly clear: this is not an easy book to read. The number of people in the world who can understand everything in it could probably take a taxi together to Penrose's next lecture.
Still, math-friendly readers looking for a substantial and possibly even thrillingly difficult intellectual experience should pick up a copy (carefully--it's over a thousand pages long and weighs nearly 4 pounds) and start at the beginning, where Penrose sets out his purpose: to describe "the search for the underlying principles that govern the behavior of our universe." Beginning with the deceptively simple geometry of Pythagoras and the Greeks, Penrose guides readers through the fundamentals--the incontrovertible bricks that hold up the fanciful mathematical structures of later chapters."
New books January 2005
"The Goddess and the Bull: Catalhoyuk - An Archaeological Journey to the Dawn of Civilization"
by Michael Balter
"The Goddess and the Bull ... " details the dramatic quest by archaeologists to unearth the buried secrets of human cultural evolution in the largest and best preserved prehistoric settlement ever to be discovered: the 9,500-year-old village of Catalhoyuk in Turkey. Here lie the origins of modern society - the dawn of art, architecture, religion, family, and even the first tangible evidence of human self-awareness, the world's oldest mirrors.
Michael Balter, the excavation's official biographer, takes readers behind the scenes, providing unprecedented access to the remarkable site and its history of scandal and thrilling scientific discovery. He features colourful characters like James Mellaart, the man who discovered the site only to lose it in the wake of a scandal, and Ian Hodder, a path-breaking archaeological rebel who reopened excavations in the early 1990s and who continues to probe the site today. Along the way, Balter describes the cutting-edge advances in archaelogical science that have allowed the team at Catalhoyuk to examine and illuminate the central questions of human existence."
"The Knights Templar: The History and Myths
of the Legendary Order"
by Sean Martin
"This book is an essential exploration into the history of a legendary group of Crusaders, which are prominently featured in Dan Brown's recent best seller, The Da Vinci Code. The Knights Templar rose from humble beginnings to become the most powerful military religious order of the Middle Ages. Formed to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land, they participated in the Crusades and rapidly gained wealth, lands, and influence. Seemingly untouchable for nearly two centuries, they fell from grace spectacularly after the loss of the Holy Land.
In the ensuing centuries the Templars have exerted a unique influence over European history; orthodox historians see them as nothing more than soldier-monks whose arrogance was their ultimate undoing, while others see them as occultists of the first order. With clarity and ease, Martin navigates between the orthodox and the speculative, the historical and the myth, to bring alive the story of the Templars. Like those other legends of the Middle Ages-the characters of the Arthurian tales-The Knights Templar holds captive the imagination of all those intrigued by conspiracy and how history and myth intertwine to become the stuff of legend."
Published September 2004
New Printing 2005
"Atlantis from a Geographer's Perspective"
"Atlantis. A fairytale land, or a real place? Or both? This book presents an in-depth study on the geography of Atlantis, made by a scientist with a unique background in marine geology and disasters.
The goal was to establish, once and for all, if Plato invented Atlantis from thin air, or if he built on some existing tradition. We already know he added to it—Plato admitted so himself. The question is not if things were added, the question is if there are any geographic facts in the bottom, that might have been passed down from a pre-historic culture in the way that Plato claimed.
The author’s conclusion is that beyond reasonable doubt, Plato based the geographic description of Atlantis on Ireland. Understanding Atlantis’ geography sheds light on archaeology, but it also puts our own culture in the spotlight: Why has it taken so long to discover something so obvious?
A scientific evaluation of the Atlantis tale by Plato, presented by a doctor in Physical Geography. The hypothesis is that the Megalith culture of Western Europe is hiding behind the Atlantis empire, and that Ireland was the political centre, the island Atlantis itself."