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Customer reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
The Book of the Damned (The First Book of UFO's)
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on 1 July 2017
This is a cheaply made edition... small print and misprints abound. And no contents page or index. Fort is not an easy author to read. After squinting at the text, and trying to follow Fort's erratic, rambling narrative for 150 pages I simply lost all interest in completing the book. Somewhere, buried under the verbose, often incomprehensible, text there's the germ of a good book. Yes, orthodox science HAS ignored and ridiculed phenomena which defies rational explanation. And Fort's philosophy of Continuity, in which all things and phenomena merge into each other is as valid a philosophy as any of the abtruse notions of the last 2500 years. But this book is a muddy concoction. Not recommended.
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on 10 May 2017
I don't know what I expected but just couldn't get into this although I read a few chapters and gave it a good every chance
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on 2 June 2017
Awesome thank you!
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on 22 April 2017
Very dry.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 February 2010
This book contains all four of Charles Fort's books: `The Book of the Damned'; `New Lands'; `Lo!'; and `Wild Talents'. `By the damned', wrote Charles Fort, `I mean the excluded. We shall have a procession of data that Science excluded.' And in these four books (or processions) we have a feat of recorded events of bizarre, strange and inexplicable anomalies for which science could not fully account. And what are these recorded events? They include frogs falling from the sky during storms, monsters, teleportation, poltergeists, and floating islands. They include people who disappear; people who reappear; and people who spontaneously combust.

This is an engrossing compilation of miscellaneous attention-grabbing events, approached with both belief and scepticism, and blended with scholarship and humour.
How to read this massive book? I'm pleased that I took Jim Steinmeyer's advice to read `Lo!' (the third book) first. By the time I got (back) to `Book of the Damned', I was totally engrossed. Fort's writing is humorous, cynical and witty. In Fort's view, it is not possible for humans to fully know or define the universe. I especially like his statement that: `There is something wrong with everything that is popular.' Whether or not this is always true, popularity certainly does not guarantee `truth'.

The collection of oddities compiled by Charles Fort is fascinating and it is possible to simply enjoy the descriptions without wondering about how and why these events took place. Fort's floating `Sargasso Seas' in the sky as a means of sucking in and dropping of frogs (and other objects) is as good as any other explanation for frogs falling from skies during storms. The fact that we can't explain all events doesn't mean that we shouldn't look for explanations to examine, accept or reject. Now that I have read Fort's writings, I am keen to read more about Fort himself.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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on 23 September 2012
I have been wanting to read The Book of the Damned for years, so I was delighted to see it as a Kindle free download. Mr Fort is a witty, intelligent and self deprecating guide through lists of the strange. Falls of frogs, fish, stones, lumps of ice are those referred to most frequently. He puts forward some theories of his own such as the super Sargasso sea and parallel universes or sections of the atmosphere with no gravity, cheerfully dismissing his theories toward the end of the book. Also dismissed and with good reasons, is the conventional theory that unusual skyfalls are caused by things caught up in whirlwinds and tornadoes. "The Damned" is the data which fits into no scientific theory, and still doesn't. I gave the download version four stars, a beautifully published and illustrated real book would get five.
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on 31 January 2011
Charles Fort is essential for anyone who is fascinated by the obscure and extraordinary. Some call him the father of the modern day paranormal. He was the man who stood up to science and asked why? What? How? or a facial expression which encapsulated all of those questions mixed with a little bit of disgust. Fort collected bits of paranormal phenomena from across the globe and collated them in arguably one of his most famous works, The Book of the Damned. The book of things science turned its back on or swept under the carpet. Things which can't be explained by mainstream science. This book also features his other complimentary works, some of them a little advanced and even scary for the beginner. Dip your toes into the murky waters of his alternative and contraversial theories, as Fort will definitely open up a new world to you, with facts and accounts of the strangest events/circumstances and sightings that spit in the face of scientific hegemony.
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VINE VOICEon 22 June 2010
Not only is this a dizzying procession of weirdness and a hilarious satire of the arrogance of scientists and journalists (though not really intended as a criticism of science itself, as reviewer Gordon Thomson here seems to think); it's also a remarkable 'voice', an unconventional and impish thinker merrily smashing idols on all sides. Fort does not really argue that the scientific method is 'wrong', he only emphasises the discrepancy between how incomplete scientific knowledge is and how complete many scientists seem to THINK it is! Time after time he unearths reports of anomalies such as fish-falls, entombed frogs, etc, and follows them up with the immediate, uninformed, lazy and inadequate explanations promptly offered up by the local pharmacist or the astronomer royal. Fort himself gleefully proposes alternative explanations that are deliberately outlandish and ridiculous, and yet which fit the facts better than what the boffins said.

Stephen Fry called science "humility before the facts". Fort spent decades gathering a host of ignored, "damned" facts, and his books are a call for more humility in their face. He was an original, and happily a great wit to boot.
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on 17 October 2014
The Book of the Damned (first published in 1919) covers records and reports of odd and freak occurrences from around the world that were at the time, and mostly still are, unexplained.

UFOs and all

We are talking freak weather - rains that dumped small animals and inanimate objects like blocks of ice, pebbles; also black rain, triangular clouds and artefacts like axeheads falling from the sky. It also records some poltergeist activity, dirigibles (UFOs to us), and many more... These were being reported during the early 20th century plus back in the 19th century and even earlier, and found in publications, such as Notes & Queries, and newspapers at the time. For example:

'Science, July 31, 1896: That, according to a newspaper account, Mr. W.R. Brooks, director of the Smith Observatory, had seen a dark round object pass rather slowly across the moon, in a horizontal direction.'

'"A formation having the shape of a dirigible." It was reported from Huntington, West Virginia (Sci. Amer., 115-241). Luminous object that was seen July 19, 1916, at about 11 P.M. Observed through "rather powerful field glasses," it looked to be about two degrees long and half a degree wide. It gradually dimmed, disappeared, reappeared, and then faded out of sight.'

Fortean Times

Charles Fort's Book of the Damned later became the springboard for the Fortean Times magazine. What Fort was really getting at, with his double-edged sword, wasn't just to list the weird and wonderful but to confront the ongoing denial, or over-simple explanations, given by experts and scientists at the time, in response to these stories – that denial was the driver for his writing the book – the clue is, as they say, in the title.

A real oversight

One major drawback of the book is that it isn’t organised into proper chapters – so has no table of contents - and nor does it contain an index at the back. This is a real setback for a book so crammed with information and facts. One is therefore obliged to trawl through it to find the nuggets of information one is looking for. This is the reason and the only reason I give this book 4 Stars and not 5.

However, Kindle to the rescue here. Kindle provides a search facility and that does help enormously as an alternative to a proper index. You just need to have some idea of what it is you are searching for - be it 'dirigibles,' 'poltergeists,' or odd 'clouds.'

A great read

If you are into the ‘ghost in the machine’, the unexplained, you’ll find this a fabulous and an adventurous read. Fort is witty, incisive, even sardonic in places, as he takes the experts to task. The book gives you a real flavour of the time it was written in. Do get hold of it today!

This book is now in the public domain by the way!
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on 17 July 2014
The 'damned' being that data which simply doesn't fit mainstream thinking.

Fort is not an easy read but stay with it and this is a mine of mind-stretching oddities collected from around the world. Some (most) of his presented theories are mad in the extreme, especially in light of modern understanding, but I believe Fort put most of his theories forward with tongue firmly in cheek!! However, get around the difficult prose, the recurring criticism of mainstream scientists and the madcap ideas and this is a truly fascinating collection of unusual and genuinely puzzling events.
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