"Hancock challenges orthodox history with extraordinary theories of a vanished early civilisation destroyed by a cataclysm... However heretical his arguments, his sweep through the ancient world is arresting and audacious" (Daily Mail) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Publisher
Every once in a while there is a book that places a very large question mark against the accepted view of history. An example is Ignatius Donnelly's Atlantis, which was published in 1882, and inspired a whole new genre of book in the late Victorian era.
The equivalent book today is Graham Hancock's Fingerprints of the Gods. Since its publication in 1995, hundreds of writers have followed in Hancock's footsteps, but he has sold and continues to sell more than any of his followers, and on the 'alternative history' lecture circuit he remains the greatest draw.
There are several reasons for this, I believe. As a former Financial Times journalist, Hancock did not enter the subject area as a 'believer', and the text has all the excitement of discovery about it. The reader is drawn in to the theories in tandem with the author, who writes in such a way that the reader's mind races ahead, trying to get to all the connections before the author does - a are gift in narrative non-fiction. Quite difficult ideas are dealt with deftly and in a way which does not impede the narrative flow. And lastly there is the book's ambition, its boldness. Here is a complete history of everything in the world ever. Very few writers can pull this off, but when they do, they are usually rewarded with very large sales.
All this not only makes Fingerprints the biggest best-seller in the area, it also makes it the book that career academics hate the most. It is not that it espouses levitating blocks of granite or channelled agony aunt advice from an ancient Egyptian priestess or Atlantean black magic bringing on the floods, but in view of the howls of execration it provokes, it might as well do. Perhaps these academics' reasoning runs along similar lines to 'if smoke dope, you'll be on heroine next'?
My own interpretation is that the people who hate Hancock - as I say, mostly academics - are militant materialists who have a horror of the spiritual. They may say they are spiritual, but what they mean by that word is something like 'keen on finding moral and aesthetic values', such as having a feeling of wonder when they look at a night sky, which isn't what the word means at all. Now again, Fingerprints isn't a book that espouses spiritual values, at least not openly, but Hancock has since become something of a spiritual leader to his many followers.
The odd thing about these purportedly high-minded militant materialists is that they are prepared to resort to dishonesty in debate, so keen are they to stamp out the spiritual element. No doubt it's all for a higher good.
In December 2000 a BBC Horizon programme about Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval, author of another ground-breaking book in the area, The Orion Mystery and co-author with Graham of Keeper of Genesis, made them look bad. The programme was based largely on interviews with them which they felt had been edited in an unfair way. Their complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Commission was in part upheld, and when the documentary was re-shown, it was with changes, but not as many as the authors would have liked. This new edition contains the full transcripts of the tapes so that the reader can make up his/her mind, together with a new introduction which gives the state of play in the arguments for and against the antediluvian civilisation. It also contains 16 pages of beautiful new photographs by Graham's wife Santha.
Fingerprints of the Gods was the book which started the debate in our time, and this new edition also makes it the most up-to-date book on the vital issues. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.