The Voynich Manuscript: The Unsolved Riddle of an Extraordinary 16th Century Book Which Even Today Defies Interpretation Paperback – 3 Feb 2005
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'A fascinating examination of the latest theories concerning the manuscript' (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)
'The clashing interpretations are aired ably and open-mindedly and the books includes plenty of mesmerising images from the enigmatic codex.' (GUARDIAN)
About the Author
The authors are producers and film-makers. Gerry Kennedy is a relative of Voynich and has been researching the manuscript for many years and has amassed a unique archive of material. He has made a number of BBC Radio 4 programmes, including one on the Voynich Manuscript. Rob Churchill has written scripts for the BBC, Thames Television and numerous independent production companies in Britain and abroad. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
On the surface, it is a book about one subject: the (likely mediaeval) manuscript written in code (its various sections illustrated with pictures of plants, astronomy, naked dancing nymphs and unintelligible symbology) that has defied attempts at deciphering, from the early students of occult and mystical languages through to the modern cipher-breakers of wartime Europe. It also builds up a chronologically formatted story of the Manuscript from its first appearance in records to its current whereabouts.
In the quest to discover who might have written the manuscript, why they wrote it, and ultimately to decipher its message, Churchill & Kennedy manage to create a cyclopedia of information, a Fortean who's-who of strange people and what's-what of strange phenomena, all who may have been connected in some way with the manuscript, or knowledge of which might assist them in their understanding of it.
Thus we travel through the ages learning about various people and various phenomena, including the life and works of characters such as Roger Bacon, Dr John Dee, St Hildegard and Voynich himself; and in the process discovering the Shakers and the spirit-world, magic and mediaeval science, how migraines work, how codes and ciphers work, and so on, and on ...
How the authors managed to get so much information, interestingly written and clearly explained, in one 300 page volume is a mystery almost as great as the one they are researching.
It's certainly one of the most interesting reads I've had of late and thoroughly recommended.
The book perhaps suffers slightly from its British authorship. Although most of the key players in the modern history of the manuscript have been American, few living experts seem to have been interviewed in person. Missing particularly is any discussion of the sustained and puzzling interest in the manuscript by agencies of the American Government; the Voynich internet group was at one time subsidized by the RAND Corporation, a defence think tank with Pentagon links, while the doctoral thesis of Mary d'Imperio, probably the leading expert on the manuscript, was commissioned by the National Security Agency. One wonders what they think it might contain. Also, I'm not sure the authors understand the full importance of the entropy calculations, which prove that the text is not just random doodles but contains meaningful information, even though we cannot decipher it. But read the book anyway and, like so many other newcomers to the Voynich Manuscript, you will be hooked for life.
This is popular history at its most intriguing and informative... although from time to time one wonders whether this is the correct format. However I am probably being over-snobbish here.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting, with a deal of surrounding information. The search could be narrowed if Yale, the manuscript owners, arranged an up to date analysis of it. Read morePublished 20 months ago by C J Lowery
While trying to think of plot hooks for my novel, The Voynich Deception, I remembered reading this book and sought out another copy. Read morePublished on 9 Feb. 2014 by Michael Lancashire