Atlantis: The Andes Solution: The Discovery of South America as the Legendary Continent of Atlantis

James M. Allen, Author, J. M. Allen, Author, Tim Allen, Author Palgrave MacMillan $26.95 (188p) ISBN 978-0-312-21923-9
Allen, a former air photo interpreter for Britain's Royal Air Force who has also studied ancient measurements, weighs in here with another theory concerning the legendary lost continent, thought at various times by scholars to have been located in the Bahamas, Antarctica or in the Aegean Sea. Plato, who first referred to Atlantis in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias, described it as inhabited by a powerful civilization that tried to conquer the peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean and were punished when their continent was swallowed by the ocean after a day and night of earthquakes and floods. Based on Plato's account (reprinted here) and his own research, which included a trip to South America, Allen argues that the site of Atlantis was on the Bolivian Altiplano (a series of high plains). Allen's major points rest on rather shaky foundations: the similarity of the Bolivian terrain to the geographical details in Plato's dialogues; the fact that floods and earthquakes have occurred in the Bolivian Altiplano; and the fact that precious metals referred to by Plato as mined in Atlantis are also found in Bolivia.This is enjoyable reading, but seems more an exercise in textual legerdemain than science as Allen relies heavily on his own interpretation of Plato, which makes his ideas intriguing rather than convincing. Atlantis buffs will want to add this to their shelves, but few readers will be convinced by the many parallels Allen attempts to draw between the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean and pre-Columbian America. B&w photos; color photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/1999
Release date: 01/01/1999
Genre: Nonfiction
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