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Meet Me in Atlantis: My Obsessive Quest to…
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Meet Me in Atlantis: My Obsessive Quest to Find the Sunken City

by Mark Adams

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Joy's review: Adams explores the legend of Atlantis both historically and through modern Atlantis hunters. Not nearly as much fun as that sounds. He spends way too much ink on minutia about Plato and Pythagoras; certainly more info than my brain could attend to. The present day characters who were looking for or thought they found Atlantis are quite entertaining, though. I also liked some of the current thinking on where myths and legends come from. Overall: a bit of a slog. ( )
  konastories | Jul 6, 2016 |
This book undertakes to determine whether Plato related his Atlantis story as historical fact, social commentary, a joke, or mathematical allegory; dedfenders of all of these interpretations and more appear here. Thus, the author travels to many of the places which have been suggested as possible Atlantises over the years, and visits with many researchers, some of them kooks, most of them academics, who are working on the problem. It must be said that none of these researchers are dealing with the pop culture, cable documentary Atlantis of giant islands taking up half of the Atlantic whose residents fly jet planes and entertain space aliens; these people are looking for ancient ruins of a city, usually a relatively modest one.

The author is a great companion, who brings these people and their eccentricities to life with affectionate good humor. When this book was trying to be fun, it was a lot of fun. Ultimately, though, it does get into very close readings of Plato and associated areas such as the elaborations of Pythagorean number theory. The author does a superb job of explaining these arcana in a concise and understandable manner, but ultimately I did feel a little like the straw man he introduces who interjects, "Mark, what the hell does all this have to do with Atlantis?" By book's end the mathematicians who are working with mathematical syllable patterns in Plato's writings seemed to be very much in Da Vinci Code territory. This is a good read which also tries to come to grips with some serious issues in how (or if) scholars should be approaching the Atlantis myth. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | May 24, 2016 |
Masterpiece of a serious reality treasure hunt for Atlantis:

Contrary to what most people think, it is not obvious that Atlantis was an invention by Plato. So, Mark Adams did the right thing and just started reading and travelling through world and history, hunting for clues, for possible Atlantis locations and for professional as well as amateur experts who could bring him closer to the truth. Since Mark Adams is open-minded and unprejudiced on the one hand side and on the other hand side armed with a very reasonable skepticism and -- above all -- with a good sense of humour, this book turns out to be an enjoyable and interesting trip. It reads almost like Dan Brown's Robert Langdon hunting for the secrets of history -- only this time, it is real: The clues are real, the possible locations are real, the informants are real, maybe even Atlantis turns out to be real?

The number of experts and amateurs on Atlantis, Plato, Pythagoras, mathematics, oceanography, vulcanology, history, archaeology, mythology, geophysics, and many other disciplines is enormous. Every time you think, that it would be nice if Mark Adams followed a track and visited a certain expert on a certain topic, he really follows this track in the very next chapter! This is a real search, no journalistic fake. We have to be very thankful to Mark Adams that he did this extensive journey acting on behalf of all of us who are interested in the opinions of all these experts.

Having obviously read a lot, and then talking to all these skeptics and searchers, Mark Adams piles up a huge amount of knowledge about Atlantis and possible interpretations, so that even I could still learn something here. But what is more, we also get to know the personalities of all these experts and amateurs, their motivations, their characters and their flaws. Mark Adams is a very good observer and able to ask the right questions in the right moment, and his interviews sometimes turn out to be excellent art pieces of literature as well as of psychology, and show a good sense of humour. This is surely "the" book of our generation of Atlantis research and thus also a historically valuable work!

Only in the very last chapter the limits of Mark Adams become clear. He piled up a lot of valuable information about Atlantis, yet he did not think deeply into the topic. In a liberating jump into a simplistic solution, he falls for the idea that since the cosmology in Timaeus is full of Pythagorean numbers, the numbers in the Atlantis account have to be Pythagorean, too. No one could ever show this convincingly, there are no such regularities, beginning with "one, two, three" at the beginning, where -- obviously -- "four" is missing to the full Tetractys. Besides the fact, that all Pythagorean numbers in the cosmology are not meant to be symbolic, but real, which would be the only valid assumption for Pythagorean numbers in case of Atlantis, too.

So, Mark Adams simply declares all numbers in the Atlantis account to be invented by Plato, as well as the perfect concentric ring structure, and in an act of ludicrous desperation, Mark Adams thinks that all the characteristic features defining Atlantis could be found everywhere and thus are not of any importance. Mark Adams even has bought the idea that the Greek word "nesos" (island) simply could mean anything. On the basis of this iconoclastic approach, Mark Adams declares Atlantis to be a fictional story, with only a small kernel of truth which bears no importance. It does not matter any more, if this kernel is real or invented. This historical kernel clearly does not deserve the name "Atlantis". Mark Adams's hypothesis is basically an invention hypothesis.

The reason for this failure is easy to see: Mark Adams's competence is overstrained, he has no clear idea how Plato constructed his so-called "Platonic Myths". Instead of a desperate iconoclasm he better had tried with historical criticism, which he himself reports to be mentioned (under another name) by Juan Villarias-Robles (p. 77 f.). He should have also better considered the words of K.T. Frost: "The whole description of the Athenian state in these dialogues seems much more fictitious than that of Atlantis itself." (p. 196) And he should have better not fallen into the traps of catastrophism, mythology, Neoplatonic symbolism and Pythagorean number games. With his simplistic solution, Mark Adams could also declare Egypt to be a mostly fictitious invention by Herodotus with only a small and unimportant historical kernel located in -- for example -- India.

Yet, we have to be fair: For a journalist and writer who did not work on the topic for decades, it is an achievement to have a clearly voiced opinion on Atlantis; most journalists like to hide behind nebulous statements, or declare Atlantis simply to be a full invention. Even more important than its end is Mark Adams's book itself: Having read so much, having travelled through all these locations, and having interviewed all these persons is quite a feat and a valuable present to all interested in Plato's Atlantis. This book is surely one of the best recommendations to all who want to get a glimpse into Atlantis research -- with the everlasting caveat: You should read more than one book about Atlantis.

(c) 2015 Thorwald C. Franke
www Atlantis minus Scout dot de

We have to correct some minor mistakes:

pp. 13 f. Contrary to what most people think, there was no rivalry and no fundamental opposition between Plato and Aristotle. Only certain disagreements.

p. 20 "inscribed in Egyptian temples": Not true. Plato talks only of texts which can be "taken at hand" (Timaeus 24a), i.e. papyri. There could have been inscriptions, too, but Plato does not talk of them.

pp. 86 ff. "the Nazis": Not true. Only certain National Socialists were interested in Atlantis, among them Heinrich Himmler, but Atlantis was never part of the general NS ideology. Adolf Hitler even mocked Atlantis searchers, and the tape records heavy laughter in the NS party audience.

p. 172 Plato favoured the military state Sparta: Not true even in a double sense. Before Plato changed his mind on politics in the Laws, he favoured a "closed" society in the Republic. After Plato changed his mind in the Laws, he favoured a more "open" society, and liked the Spartan principle of a constitutional "balance of power".

p. 182 "Thorwald Franke believes Sicily was the original inspiration for Atlantis". Not exactly true, if strictly speaking. Thorwald Franke is convinced that Sicily really was Atlantis, and he is still elaborating this idea.

p. 195 Papamarinopoulos: "In the Republic Plato presents an imaginary Athens". Not true, the imaginary state in the Republic is not related to Athens.

p. 215 Elizabeth Wayland Barber: Information can be passed down "orally and faithfully for up to thousands of years". Surely not true, except for very very crude kernels of truth, yet never for detailed stories.

p. 277 Plato knew the circular harbour of Carthage: Not true, this harbour most certainly was built only after Plato's death.

Index: At least two mentions of Aristotle are missing: pp. 174 f., p. 178. ( )
  Thorwald_Franke | Apr 14, 2015 |
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Book description
The New York Times Bestseller! 

The author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu travels the globe in search of the world’s most famous lost city. 

“Adventurous, inquisitive and mirthful, Mark Adams gamely sifts through the eons of rumor, science, and lore to find a place that, in the end, seems startlingly real indeed.”—Hampton Sides

A few years ago, Mark Adams made a strange discovery: Far from alien conspiracy theories and other pop culture myths, everything we know about the legendary lost city of Atlantis comes from the work of one man, the Greek philosopher Plato. Stranger still: Adams learned there is an entire global sub-culture of amateur explorers who are still actively and obsessively searching for this sunken city, based entirely on Plato’s detailed clues.  What Adams didn’t realize was that Atlantis is kind of like a virus—and he’d been exposed. 

In Meet Me in Atlantis, Adams racks up frequent-flier miles tracking down these Atlantis obsessives, trying to determine why they believe it's possible to find the world's most famous lost city—and whether any of their theories could prove or disprove its existence. The result is a classic quest that takes readers to fascinating locations to meet irresistible characters; and a deep, often humorous look at the human longing to rediscover a lost world.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525953701, Hardcover)

The New York Times bestselling author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu sets out to uncover the truth behind the legendary lost city of Atlantis.

A few years ago, Mark Adams made a strange discovery: Everything we know about the lost city of Atlantis comes from the work of one man, the Greek philosopher Plato. Then he made a second, stranger discovery: Amateur explorers are still actively searching for this sunken city all around the world, based entirely on the clues Plato left behind.

Exposed to the Atlantis obsession, Adams decides to track down these people and determine why they believe it’s possible to find the world’s most famous lost city and whether any of their theories could prove or disprove its existence. He visits scientists who use cutting-edge technology to find legendary civilizations once thought to be fictional. He examines the numerical and musical codes hidden in Plato’s writings, and with the help of some charismatic sleuths traces their roots back to Pythagoras, the sixth-century BC mathematician. He learns how ancient societies transmitted accounts of cataclysmic events—and how one might dig out the “kernel of truth” in Plato’s original tale.

Meet Me in Atlantis is Adams’s enthralling account of his quest to solve one of history’s greatest mysteries; a travelogue that takes readers to fascinating locations to meet irresistible characters; and a deep, often humorous look at the human longing to rediscover a lost world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:23 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"The New York Times bestselling author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu sets out to uncover the truth behind the legendary lost city of Atlantis. A few years ago, Mark Adams made a strange discovery: Everything we know about the lost city of Atlantis comes from the work of one man, the Greek philosopher Plato. Then he made a second, stranger discovery: Amateur explorers are still actively searching for this sunken city all around the world, based entirely on the clues Plato left behind. Exposed to the Atlantis obsession, Adams decides to track down these people and determine why they believe it's possible to find the world's most famous lost city and whether any of their theories could prove or disprove its existence. He visits scientists who use cutting-edge technology to find legendary civilizations once thought to be fictional. He examines the numerical and musical codes hidden in Plato's writings, and with the help of some charismatic sleuths traces their roots back to Pythagoras, the sixth-century BC mathematician. He learns how ancient societies transmitted accounts of cataclysmic events--and how one might dig out the 'kernel of truth' in Plato's original tale. Meet Me in Atlantis is Adams's enthralling account of his quest to solve one of history's greatest mysteries; a travelogue that takes readers to fascinating locations to meet irresistible characters; and a deep, often humorous look at the human longing to rediscover a lost world"--… (more)

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