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Out of Place in Time and Space Format Kindle
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
This fun, fast-paced read explores numerous topics ranging from the Voynich Manuscript to the Saqqara Bird and everything in between. The book goes beyond just physical objects that appear "out of place." It also explores the human mind and inventions that caused future careers to blossom and showed that some individuals really are just "ahead of their time."
The only draw back in the book, is in its simplicity. Usually that would be a good thing, but when delving into topics as hotly debated as the ones presented, it can seem if the writer just "wants out" of the discussion. Wood does not always devote the appropriate amount of time to each item. Rather he draws a conclusion and then (with a bit of wry witticism) doesn't really care if the reader agrees or disagrees with his assumptions. The style lends itself to the appearance of giving just a cursory glance at each "mystery."
For research purposes, the book was a little light in the bibliography department. Yes, a clear, seven-page bibliography is included, however it is heavy on fluff content. Citing Wikipedia screams lazy research and would never be accepted in a peer-reviewed, academic paper, let alone a serious book. Further, most of the websites that are cited present articles that are "non-bylined," making it impossible to determine the credibility of the original source.
Overall, the book plays out well and stays true to the warning that the author gives in the introduction. It is best classified as, "good for what it is." For an overview of each of the items presented, Wood's book does a great job. It is up to the reader to determine if they want to seek out more information. For those familiar with each of the "mysteries" in this book, it will feel like, "just not enough," so hardcore researchers beware. I would give this 3.5 stars in reality, but since Amazon doesn't do 1/2 stars, I'll give it a 4, simply for entertainment value.
Prior to reading the book, I had steeled myself to possibly reading something that tries to build false "facts" out of minor coincidences. I'm happy to report that is not at all how Mr. Wood went about things.
Mr. Wood's approach was to look at the facts surrounding various artifacts or beliefs from the past and address the dominant theories and conjectures about them. In most cases, he debunked theories and conjectures using logic and/or related facts.
Many ideas about past artifacts don't stand up to such scrutiny (much like common beliefs today!). In some cases, Mr. Wood presented the truth. In other cases, he didn't have the facts to arrive at a soundly-reasoned conclusion so he presented no conclusion.
His sound research and solid analyses showed respect for the subjects covered and for the reader. While the facts he discloses may not be of practical value to the reader, they are interesting facts nonetheless. Learning from his example and methodology is of practical value to the reader. Too many people are gullible because they aren't familiar with the analysis process.
The blurb on the back jacket of the book is an accurate reflection of how the author approaches journalistic investigation. That's a rare approach today, but it's good to see it's not altogether gone.
By odd coincidence, while I was reading this book I also happened to read an article in the July 2011 issue of IEEE Computer Magazine. Chapter 2 of this book is "The Ancient Computer," and an 8-page article beginning on page 32 of the magazine discussed the process of decoding the mechanical programming of that very artifact. Nothing in the article contradicts anything in the book.
The book also has a fair number of photos and illustrations that help with understanding many of these topics. In some cases, the topics were not inherently straightforward, and Mr. Wood provided the clear explanations to get past that problem.
In the bibliography, I noticed a mix of sources of varying degrees of credibility. Given how everything in the book seems coherent, I'm not sure this is a problem from an authoritativeness standpoint. And the book doesn't have footnotes or backnotes to specific sources for specific facts.
I have a keen eye for factual errors and spotted only one in this book. So however he did it, Mr. Wood did his homework.
The error is a common one, and it's done in response to propaganda, revisionist history, and custom. It's an error that people need to stop making because the nature of that error perpetuates fraud. The war between the states (begun in 1861) was not a civil war. It was a war of secession. A civil war is one in which the insurgents try to seize the existing means of government. A war of secession is when they try to leave the existing government and start their own. To even "debate" this is absurd, as all of the evidence from the time points to a war of secession and not an iota of it points to a civil war.
This book covers 40 historical anomalies in 204 pages. It has a short biography and an index.
I particularly enjoyed his discussion of medieval paintings which appear to display phenomena which we in the 21st Century are familiar with: space capsules, lasers and flying saucers. Renaissance painters were producing so many of these paintings that you would think that SOMEONE would have chronicled all these space aliens stopping off at Earth for a quick overhead pass. Yet no one did.
As Wood points out, the reason is simple: those paintaings aren't what you think they are. Your modern mind is taking something you are familiar with and transposing it on an image in a painting: "Yep. That's a laser beam. Aimed right at the Virgin Mary, too. I wonder what she ever did to the space aliens?"
What you actually see is an allegory, an accepted artistic device which expresses an event or object without having to go into details which might detract from the overall work. In some cases, allegories are absolutely necessary to the paintings subject matter. So the allegorical sun and moon, which are rendered as a red-tinged sphere with spikes and a crescent shape with spikes, respectively, look like escape pods or space capsules with people in them. Divine conception is rendered as a single beam of light, not an 20mw krypton laser beam. And when you look at some of those flying saucers, which often appear to be a bit fuzzy ("just like modern photos!") they're fuzzy because they are actually a maelstrom of angels. Wood actually looks at the artist who produced the work, the subject matter of the work, and the era in which the work was produced in order to come to his own conclusions.
The UFO nuts see flying saucers and put deliberately enhanced or deliberately blurry images to back up their "theories." They couldn't be bothered to put the time and effort to actually study the painting itself.
Overall, a good book. I do believe that color photos would have done a lot to help with some of the illustrations. I could hardly see the so-called laser beam in one painting. Also, if you're going to write something about a French cartoonist who made a lot of correct predictions about the 20th Century, shouldn't you include some of his cartoons?
Overall, a very interesting book.
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