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on 20 July 1999
When I bought this book I was intrigued by the title and had hopes as to what it would tell me. I had already read several other books alluding to a disaster of recent human memory that had been a worldwide event which modern man had forgotten. All they had failed to supply was anything "scientific" to account for why such changes had taken place if they were not due to the uniformitarian concepts that I was schooled to believe. This book did.
There are too many unanswered questions when it comes to Man's recent history, too many anomalies and this book is the best I have read which goes some way towards answering them. Some reviewers have used the term Pseudo-Science when dismissing this title as mere speculation based on myth, which I believe is just too narrow-minded an approach to take. Something happened. It may not have been Phaeton as this book suggests, but whatever it was is not answered by conventional theory, the evidence just doesn't add up. This is just an opinion but if you want to read a thought-prevoking book about something so huge that it almost wiped out our whole planet I'd give it a try.
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on 16 December 2006
Looking at the other reviews I was prompted to write this one in an effort to redress the objectionable references to pseudo-science. Derek Allan spent a lifetime in teaching and in his spare time spent over 40 years collecting and cataloguing geological information and this book is the culmination of all that research. It was published in the latter years of his life which is why some of his sources appear outdated. However, unlike other authors on the end of the Pleistocene the authors of this book include a vast amount of material from Russian field research published in obscure and difficult to get hold of journals and as such this work has a novel twist that other western geological authors do not possess. There are some surprising similarities between this model and the more recent Firestone and West et al theory of a cometary airburst at the beginning of the Younger Dryas (the end of the Pleistocene). The actual chronology is different, with the Pliocene overlapping with the Pleistocene in the Allan and Delair model, an idea that has been overtaken by the sheer weight of modern research, and in particular ice cores, ocean sediment cores, and various dating methodologies. In that respect this book is in many ways out of date - but the research spans a very long period of time, research that is often ignored by modern geologists and commenters. As such, some factors in this book can be taken with an upraised eye, but generally they are pointing a finger at a real anomaly, something dramatic happened at the end of the Ice Ages. Earlier ice ages did not result in the extinction of large numbers of species, far from it as they appear to have thrived not only during the cold episodes but through the various warm interglacials, some of which were warmer than average temperatures nowadays. Then we have those huge depressions in the crust that are in places up to four thousand feet deep and filled with the mixed remains of animals, plants, trees, rocks and gravels etc They are evidence I would have thought but evidence that is generally passed over by scientists simply because they do not fit the pattern of the uniformitarian model. The same with all those Pleistocene bones, jumbled and mixed, regularly found by potholers in the 20th century, when most of Britain's cave systems were explored. The tar pits in California are another huge hotchpotch of mangled bones of extinct and surviving species that are not adequately explained. Comments in textbooks tend to concentrate on individual specimens and rarely describe or mention the sheer multitude of remains - you have to read books like this to find out about this factor. That is strange science in a way - ignore what does not fit the consensus. Not really very objective - and that goes for those reviews that describe this book as pseudo-science. Mainstream science is just as prejudiced - possibly more so. It has a series of consensus views and evidence is manipulated into that model. If the evidence does not fit it is ignored - and I've just illustrated how the extinctions at the Pleistocene are ignored because they raise embarrassing questions. Books like this raise embarrassing questions too - that is why they are dismissed as pseudo-science. Clear case of poppycock.
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on 23 March 1999
Thought provoking? Absolutely. Am I sold on their theory of an interstellar chunk of stellar material playing havoc on the Earth? I have my reasonable doubts, but there was more than enough footnotes for me to check it out for myself. And the more I research, the more I become convinced that *something* happened to this biosphere ~12K years ago. That said, this endeavour has shaken my education to its foundation. Indeed, there are numerous instances that the authors bring to light that make one question what one has been taught in school. As an anthropologist, I believe that myth (and especially the Deluge myth) was founded on reality and filtered through the limited understanding of ancient peoples. Any anthropologist worth his salt realizes that different peoples of tribes, locals, even continents, have myths of remarkably similar themes, these make one wonder WHY the common thread; and WHY is this so easily dismissed? Those who dismiss myth as fantasy ought to remember that history is manipulated thru the perceptions of the author, a modern myth. It's very sad that the modern-day religion of science takes the position of dismissing reasonable factoids on the general principal of "doesn't compute with current theories so talk to the hand." Read it for yourself. Take it to a local library and research the bibliography for yourself. You might find yourself doing a remarkable thing, becoming a questioning being and not a rote automaton.
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on 13 July 2006
Many years ago I visited Rancho La Brea in L.A. What on earth had happened to all those now extinct animals? The current Californian climate seemed ideal for most of the species to survive. Then I learnt that many of the same species had likewise vanished suddenly all over the earth.

This book is the closest I have got to find out how and why this mass extinction occured.

Painstakingly researched the book goes into infinite detail of a major catastrophe that struck earth. If not "Phaeton" then certainly something pretty large and awful messed up not only earth, but also otheer planets in the Solar System. The evidence of this is still out there, and the authors have gone to endless trouble to find it and set it out in easily understood detail. This seems to me the essence of true science, inasmuch as it gives food for much thought and a basis for further research and conclusion. My thanks to the authors for solving to MY satisfaction my 60 year old puzzle! It also helped me figure out why the ancients of 5000 + years ago were so darned interested in the cosmos (Stonehenge, Rock circles, Pyramids, et al - Temples? probably, but observatories too) They were looking out for a repeat performance!

I think this is a great book for all interested in Earth Science and pre-history, with much to explain effects still occuring today! Works for me! You read and enjoy!
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on 17 February 2013
Forget everything you learned in school about geography! Allan and Delair prove in their thorough investigation, that the topography of the Earth, as we now know it, was formed a mere 11500 years ago, when the Earth almost died. Obviously, the powers that be, wish to lull you into a false sense of security regarding our place in the cosmos. The truth is that space is not empty, and the Earth is constantly bombarded by material from the rest of the cosmos. You may find this book frightening and disorientating, which is exactly the way our ante- diluvial ancestors felt when the terrible "Phaeton" disaster occurred. This was a cosmic encounter with massive emissions from the Vela exploding super- nova in our region of the galaxy. Phaeton was like a miniature sun which blasted it's way through the solar system, disrupting the magnetic fields of the outer planets and pulling them out of orbit before it's apocalyptical encounter with Earth.

On it's dreadful path, Phaeton captured material from Tiamat the tenth planet, which was exploded, and it's moon Kingu. As Phaeton approached the Earth, this rocky and watery debris bombarded the Earth, producing rains of death and destruction. Phaeton itself, the stellar material, did not actually collide with Earth, but the material it dragged with it, by it's own gravitation did. First the Earth dried up, and the seas boiled. Crops were desiccated and rendered inedible. Hellish firestorms broke out which sucked the oxygen from the land and triggered hurricanes on a scale now barely imaginable. When Phaeton came closer the seas were piled up mountainously, at the poles, and the Earth was pulled of it's rotational axis. As Phaeton set a course for the sun, the seas flooded the continents, which had already been catastrophically deranged, and drowned what was left of life on Earth.

The physical keys which remain as evidence of the Phaeton disaster are the"drift deposits" and "Erratics" found all over the Earth. Traditionally these are viewed by physical geographers as evidence of an "ice age". Allan and Delair reject this notion completely and utterly confute Lyellian "Uniformitarianism". There is no way that these deposits could be forced up mountainsides and deep into caves by the slow age long, action of ice. Apocalyptic diluvial water on the other hand could.

This book would make a good companion volume to Cremo and Thompson's "Forbidden Archeology". Put them together on your bookshelf! Part six of the book deals with the aftermath of the catastrophe, when humans were reduced to savagery and forced to eat meat. This was the beginning of the stone age, when all but a few of the remnants of humanity were able to once again build up a civilization. There is a good photograph of a prehistoric iron chain embedded in sedimentary rock discovered in California during 1952; what was this chain used for? There are other accounts of "anomalies" buried hundreds of feet underground; all evidence of a superior ante- diluvial civilization, wiped from the face of the Earth by this awful catastrophe.

Surprisingly. Allan and Delair avoid the topic of Venus, the next nearest planet to the sun. I believe that Phaeton had a terrible cataclysmic affect on this planet too.
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on 19 October 1997
Previously titled - When the Earth Nearly Died & republished by Bear & Co. under this title. This is an excellent, well-documented book that basically disproves the ice age as it has been believed in the last 200 years. Methodically explores mythology, biology, geology, botony, astronomy and so much more to show there is no scientific proof for a long ice age or series of ice ages and that most of what is blamed on an ice-age and moving glaciers is in error. Shows the probable explanation is that an extraordinary event occured involving some type of body entering our solar system and effecting each planet and ultimately the earth causing major axis shifts, global earthquakes, land upheavals, hurricanes, floods, tidal waves, fires, and so on. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in earth mysteries, sacred sites, mythology, geology and more.
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on 6 June 2010
This is a very well researched scientific examination of the last ice age, Noah's flood and an extermination of a previous race
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on 22 April 2012
Having read most of the available theories on "catastrophism", especially the works of Immanuel Velikovsky, and having long studied ancient history from angles which would generally be considered as unconventional, I am of course well aware there is much evidence proving beyond doubt that the history of human civilisation is shockingly incomplete. Artefacts such as the Antikythera Mechanism demonstrate that people at some point in dim and hoary antiquity possessed technology which would not have been out of place in the early 1900s, and astronomical and mechanical knowledge apparently superior to our own (after a century we still cannot say for sure that we have unravelled all of its secrets). How far back exactly this object dates is not known, and probably impossible to ascertain for certain. Nevertheless, without a shadow of doubt the ancients possessed advanced knowledge of the workings of the heavens and how to track and record the movements of the celestial bodies. Indeed it is now well established that even African tribes such as the Dogon have possessed for millenia astronomical knowledge which has only been confirmed by our modern technology in the past century or so.

Yet there is no record of where this knowledge came from, or when it originated. Clearly then, the record of human history is a much disturbed one with certain epochs now probably lost to us forever and others which live on only in the most nebulous of ancient traditions. The doctrine of uniformity is therefore clearly inadequate to explain our past, and the more one studies it the more one realises it is not only inadequate but complete nonsense. There have been cataclysms in the past, cataclysms which came close to ending all life on earth, which raised mountains and sunk continents, which caused massive global vulcanism, and which moved the earth from its orbit and reversed its magnetic poles. Some of these occurred within the memory of modern man. The most complete and compelling treatment of these is undoubtedly that of Immanuel Velikovsky in Worlds in Collision, Earth in Upheaval, In the Beginning (unpublished, available at the Velikovsky Archive) and the Ages in Chaos series.

One of the most compelling thing about Cataclysm! however, despite its rather misleading title, is, to my mind, the amazing similarities at times to Velikovsky's work. It actually felt at times like reading a combined and reworded version of Worlds in Collision and Earth in Upheaval together, and I feel quite sure that if this work had been written by someone challenging established beliefs too far, like Velikovsky did, a case for plagiarism would quickly be made, and without a doubt it would stick. Delair and Allan, sadly, do not challenge any beliefs. The theory they serve up is so speculative and so stupendously far-fetched that it discredits itself and, perhaps intentionally, the whole field of catastrophism. The authors also on a number of occasions seek (unsuccessfully) to refute Velikovsky - even to the extent of misrepresenting him. It seemed to me that this was one of the main points of the book, and like all such attempts to debunk Velikovsky's work it is painfully obvious that these authors did not even bother to read Worlds in Collision before misquoting him. This demonstrates their total lack of academic integrity and is but one in a long list of examples of shoddy and incomplete scholarship.

Their theory essentially is that a fragment of debris from a supernova in a nearby part of the galaxy, not an asteroid or comet but something new, something no-one has ever thought of before (!) came careening through the Solar System and played pinball with the planets (the author's own words) before falling into the sun. Along the way this object destroyed the odd planet here and there, captured the odd moon or small planet, and produced all the signs which other authors have more compellingly ascribed to other cosmic cataclysms. There was, according to these authors, only one cataclysm in earth history and it was the one they describe. Any evidence to the contrary is simply ignored or misrepresented to fit the picture the authors were clearly desperate to paint right from the start, and their analysis of ancient traditions before fitting them into their thesis is woefully inadequate. With no attempt whatsoever to establish any temporal synchronism they simply insist that any and every historical reference that can possibly be mistranslated or otherwise misrepresented into supporting their theme points to that time.

The authors, like all uniformitarians-at-heart, rely heavily on the results of radio-carbon dating, a method of dating which according to its inventor Libby is dependant for its accuracy upon the requirement that the rate at which cosmic rays strike the earth has not changed in the past twenty thousand years or so. Yet the claims advanced in Cataclysm! would necessarily involve massive changes in the number of cosmic rays striking the earth, not to mention changes in the ratios of radioactive and non-radioactive carbons due to increased vulcanism and burning of hydrocarbons on the earth's surface, etc. They therefore choose not to mention this insignificant little detail and indeed act as though completely unaware of it. This would not surprise me too much, except that I find it difficult to believe that such scholars could be ignorant of such widely-known subjects; I can therefore only conclude that they simply choose to ignore anything that might invalidate their claims. Just another example of their non-existent scientific standards. Another related example lies in the fact that they are apparently unaware that Velikovsky himself wrote a very detailed paper, The Pitfalls Of Radio-Carbon Dating, and corresponded at length with Libby (all available online at the Velikovsky Archive); indeed, Velikovsky more than anyone was responsible for highlighting the shortcomings of carbon dating, shortcomings which Libby himself acknowledged yet chose to ignore - as did these authors.

Unfortunately, after waiting eagerly for the delivery of this book I was hugely disappointed when I read it. Sadly, to me it read either like a deliberate hatchet job or childishly nonsense, and sometimes both, as well as an exercise at damage limitation: the theories of uniformitarianism have been consistently undermined for so long that it is surely by now apparent to the most conservative of academics that it is no longer possible to cling to all of them. If the damage to the doctrine of uniformity can be limited to accepting the reality of only one cataclysm - too far in the past to learn anything useful from, whilst stressing this was an isolated event and that uniformity is otherwise the norm, then the academic stagnation which is the inevitable result of a status quo such as exists at present will continue and authors such as these can bask in the warm glow of success, fortunately ignorant of the knowledge that the only kind of society in which they could ever be successful is a backward one. They therefore attempt to explain away the Solar System's obviously recently cataclysmic past by lumping all the evidence for all cosmic cataclysms into one holistic but unconvincing theory whilst at the same time apparently trying to discredit any notions of catastrophism - including their own, strangely enough. I could spend the rest of my life pointing out in detail why Cataclysm! is far more the work of pseudo-science than anything Velikovsky and many other "catastrophists" ever wrote. Suffice to say, however, that their uniformitarian leanings and therefore the real point of the book are best highlighted in the authors' own words:

Despite its awesome destructive powers, however, the disaster was essentially a solitary event punctuating the uniformitarian normality of the solar system and which, among other effects, terminated a long and idyllic terrestrial regime anciently remembered as a 'Golden Age'. This had been an excellent expression of Lyellian uniformity on Earth. Now it was shattered and gone. Long aeons would and are to pass before such conditions become general once more. (p.231 - 232)

This is not to say that Cataclysm! is completely worthless; indeed, the authors present much irrefutable evidence that there have been cataclysms in the not-too-distant past, actually repeating much that Velikovsky had earlier presented in Earth in Upheaval (see my earlier complaint), and that there does appear to be some evidence pointing to some kind of cataclysm around the time they talk about. However, the method by which they arrived at the exact year this event occurred is perhaps one of the most stunningly speculative pieces of wishful thinking I have ever read in a supposedly scholarly work. This rests on Plato's apparent dating of the fall of Atlantis to nine thousand years before his time, as well as the idea that the Pleistocene epoch ended approximately 11,500 years ago - this, despite the lengths to which they earlier went to point out that, with the discrediting of the theory of ice ages, these geological eras are purely arbitrary and partly non-existent ("an icy chimera"). This is simply another example of their cherry-picking of evidence and it seemed to me that even they became confused on occasion as to whether they were discrediting or reinforcing the doctrine of uniformity. Incidentally, Velikovsky wrote at length about this earlier cataclysm (and others) and far more convincingly ascribed the events to a collision of some kind between Jupiter and Saturn; the evidence he presents is far more compelling (see In The Beginning), as is his assertion that it is impossible to even guess at the actual dating of the event although he guessed within the last ten thousand years; again the authors seem to be or act as though they are completely ignorant of Velikovsky's work in this area.

In short, the whole theory and the method by which it is presented and "proved" is too fantastic and unbelievable, in my opinion, and is quite obviously a mish-mash of the evidence for a number of different cataclysms all lumped together. I hate to say it, but I really wished I had not wasted the money....
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on 15 December 2012
Many of the people slating this book are calling it pseudoscience - funny I did'nt realise that Oxford University taught pseudoscience, oh that's right they don't. Both authors are experts in their field and were trained at the best universities in England & America.
Read with an open mind and then make your own conclussions.
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on 5 April 2016
Great book though they don't give Velikovsky enough credit or put his ideas in context.
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