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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best "Atlantis" book written yet?, 22 Dec. 2000
This is a vast, complex book that ties together linguistics, anthropology, geology to prove that there was a habitable continent 10,000 years ago where the south East Asian archipelagoes are now. So where is that continent now?
Oppenheimer reviews the latest thinking on how the last Ice Age ended and concludes that there was a massive meltdown and the subsequent rising sea levels drowned vast areas of land populated by advanced cultures (check out Graham Hancock's latest research).
The refugees from this cataclysmic flooding fled in two directions, some went into the Pacific and became Polynesians and others went West and became instrumental in founding Sumer. For me the most interesting parts of the book are about the Ice Age collapse. Oppenheimer is encyclopedic about his facts and spends a lot of time discussing the "genetics" of language spread and the diffusion of culture, which are heavy going. But if you are serious about the search for lost civilizations then this book has to be on your reading list
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dare I say: drowning old ideas on the centre of civilisation, 16 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Eden In The East: Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia (Hardcover)
The book I wish to review is "Eden In The East" by Dr Stephen Oppenheimer. As a graduate of Indonesian and Malayan Studies from Sydney University, who has taught Indonesian language and history for many years, I have some experience in the area of study advanced by Oppenheimer's book.In short, Dr Oppenheimer advances a chain of theories, some of which run counter to accepted views of South East Asian Prehistory and the influence of this area upon the rest of the world. Based upon archaeological, medical (esp. DNA) evidence and oral literature, Dr Oppenheimer asserts that, even should there be an ultimate homeland for the ancestors of the Austronesians and Austro-Asiatics in China, the development and spread of Austronesian culture began in South East Asia itself at the end of the last Ice Age, when the SEA islands were separated from the mainland and the lowlands flooded.This is not the accepted theory held by most linguists, which has the Austronesians leaving China via Taiwan and the Philippines at a much later date. Dr Oppenheimer shows, using strong evidence that Austronesians spread from an area around Sulawesi, both westwards to Madagascar,northwards to the Philippines and Taiwan and eastwards to coastal PNG and ultimately to the islands of the Pacific. In doing this, he asserts, they followed trade routes already pioneered by prehistoric traders of obsidian. However, the Austronesian stimulus for migration was not trade, but the drowning of their lands. Dr Oppenheimer further promotes that the Austronesians took with them farming methods they had mastered long before similar innovations took place in the so-called "Old World"- in fact, he claims (with evidence) that the Austronesians introduced these innovations to the Middle East and India. He uses universal flood myths to further back his evidence, making the strong claim that these myths indicate that the Biblical flood did indeed happen,and that "Eden" was in South East Asia, not Mesopotamia. Dr Oppenheimer's evidence is weighty and deserving of respect. There is much that needs to be taken seriously in his findings. I have long thought that current linguistic theories and the archaelogical record regarding the peopling of the archipelago and the Pacific sit together uneasily. While I cannot go as far as Oppenheimer to see that the universal flood myths indicate that Eden was in SEA (although I DO believe in a literal Flood!), I do agree that SEA has had more effect on world cultures than previously believed. It is not impossible to believe that SEA refugees/immigrants drastically influenced European and Middle East Culture The traffic between East and West was certainly more than one way, and has operated long before many experts would give it credit.A major catastrophe, such as the end of the Ice Age, makes perfect sense as a stimulus to migration. SEA was and is a dynamic area and its people innovative, anxious to learn and extremely able to take initiatives in order to survive and prosper. The more I travel there, the more I believe this. The more I mix with Austronesians, the more they fascinate me. Susan Scarcella B.A.(Hons) Dip. Ed. S.P.T.C.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dare I say: drowning old ideas on the centre of civilisation, 30 May 2001
By A Customer
The book I wish to review is "Eden In The East" by Dr Stephen Oppenheimer. As a graduate of Indonesian and Malayan Studies from Sydney University, who has taught Indonesian language and history for many years, I have some experience in the area of study advanced by Oppenheimer's book. In short, Dr Oppenheimer advances a chain of theories, some of which run counter to accepted views of South East Asian Prehistory and the influence of this area upon the rest of the world. Based upon archaeological, medical (esp. DNA) evidence and oral literature, Dr Oppenheimer asserts that, even should there be an ultimate homeland for the ancestors of the Austronesians and Austro-Asiatics in China, the development and spread of Austronesian culture began in South East Asia itself at the end of the last Ice Age, when the SEA islands were separated from the mainland and the lowlands flooded.This is not the accepted theory held by most linguists, which has the Austronesians leaving China via Taiwan and the Philippines at a much later date. Dr Oppenheimer shows, using strong evidence that Austronesians spread from an area around Sulawesi, both westwards to Madagascar, northwards to the Philippines and Taiwan and eastwards to coastal PNG and ultimately to the islands of the Pacific. In doing this, he asserts, they followed trade routes already pioneered by prehistoric traders of obsidian. However, the Austronesian stimulus for migration was not trade, but the drowning of their lands. Dr Oppenheimer further promotes that the Austronesians took with them farming methods they had mastered long before similar innovations took place in the so-called "Old World"- in fact, he claims (with evidence) that the Austronesians introduced these innovations to the Middle East and India. He uses universal flood myths to further back his evidence, making the strong claim that these myths indicate that the Biblical flood did indeed happen,and that "Eden" was in South East Asia, not Mesopotamia. Dr Oppenheimer's evidence is weighty and deserving of respect.There is much that needs to be taken seriously in his findings. I have long thought that current linguistic theories and the archaeological record regarding the peopling of the archipelago and the Pacific sit together uneasily. While I cannot go as far as Oppenheimer to see that the universal flood myths indicate that Eden was in SEA (although I DO believe in a literal Flood!), I do agree that SEA has had more effect on world cultures than previously believed. It is not impossible to believe that SEA refugees/immigrants drastically influenced European and Middle East Culture The traffic between East and West was certainly more than one way, and has operated long before many experts would give it credit. A major catastrophe, such as the end of the Ice Age,makes perfect sense as a stimulus to migration. SEA was and is a dynamic area and its people innovative, anxious to learn and extremely able to take initiatives in order to survive and prosper.The more I travel there, the more I believe this. The more I mix with Austronesians, the more they fascinate me. Susan Scarcella B.A.(Hons) Dip. Ed. S.P.T.C.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eden in the East By Stephen Oppenheimer, 10 Feb. 2014
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Ms. C. B. Mclaglen "beatrice allen" (Huddersfield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Eden In The East: Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia (Hardcover)
A facinating and essential addition to the story og humans' story in Africa and after leaving Africa 83.000 years ago. After studying desease carrying DNA in people in the islands of Indonesia and surrounding areas, he became interested in the myths of the various areas and other stories which seemed to tie up sometimes and be related. He was also interested in the ancient geological history overthe past 200,000 years as this was important to the influence on humans as they travelled. The amazing thing is that like Graham Hancock, this scientist found that there was a strong link beween climate changes and oceans and the myths and historys in impotant cultural songs and writings still sung today and written on clay tablet in cuneform 3,000 to 4000 years ago about a time before that when there were terrrible floods. this is well worth reading and make one feel as though one had travelled back in time. Cynthia Allen McLaglen
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5.0 out of 5 stars Long time no sea (or rather explanation of flood myths), 31 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Eden In The East: Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia (Hardcover)
I would recommend this book to everyone who is interested in the history of languages, ancient history in general and scientific explanations of myths and the facts behind them.
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Eden In The East: Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia
Eden In The East: Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia by Stephen Oppenheimer (Hardcover - 28 Sept. 1998)
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