Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science and Pseudo-Religions

Ronald Fritze, Author Reaktion Books $29.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-86189-430-4
In this enlightened diatribe, author and historian Fritze (New Worlds: The Great Voyages of Discovery 1400-1600) takes a hard look at pseudohistory, myths passed off as historical fact by those who ""confuse the distinction between possibility and probability,"" either through ignorance or design (usually the latter). He begins by showing how the story of Atlantis evolved from reasonable hypothesis (accepted by Newton, among others) to disproved scholarship to Theosophist cosmology to occupy a central spot among ""occult and spiritualist groups."" Other claims that come under the microscope: conflicting theories on the settlement of ""ancient America""; claims and abuses regarding the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, including the cult of the British Israelites; and the doctrines of the Nation of Islam, dismissed as fraudulent by ""most practicing Muslims,"" including Malcolm X. He also profiles notable pseudohistorian careers (including Immanuel Velikovsky and Charles H. Hapgood), and concludes with the ongoing controversy surrounding Cornell professor Martin Bernal's contention (in 1987's Black Athena) that Bronze Age Greek culture ""arose as a result of colonization by Egyptians and Phoenicians."" Fritz incorporates a wealth of background information and insider baseball while buttressing his own provocative contentions, making this a hearty treat for history buffs.
Reviewed on: 03/30/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-86189-817-3
Open Ebook - 306 pages - 978-1-86189-674-2
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