Finding Atlantis: A True Story of Genius, Madness, and an Extraordinary Quest for a Lost World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Finding Atlantis: A True Story of Genius, Madness, and an Extraordinary Quest for a Lost World

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  106 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The Untold Story of One Man's Quest for a Lost World

In 1679, Renaissance man Olof Rudbeck stunned the world. He proposed that an ancient lost civilization once thrived in the far north of his native Sweden: the fabled Atlantis. Rudbeck would spend the last thirty years of his life hunting for the evidence that would prove this extraordinary theory.

Chasing down clues to tha...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Broadway Books (first published 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Finding Atlantis, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Finding Atlantis

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 330)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

I was astonished by how much I enjoyed this book, which I devoured in a single day. Olof Rudbeck was the discoverer of the lymph system, a keen astronomer, a composer, a singer, an instrumentalist, a top-flight architect -- in short, a sort of paradigm for Renaissance Man (the plant genus Rudbeckia was named in honour of him and his son, another Olof) -- yet he devoted most of his life to an attempt to prove first that Sweden was the land of the Hyperboreans and then that Atlantis was in fact Sw...more
FINDING ATLANTIS: A True Story of Genius, Madness, and an Extraordinary Quest for a Lost World. (2005). David King. ****.
I think that long titles are on their way back, but still have a long way to go. For example, the full title of the book published by the hero of this work, Olof Rudbeck, is given on pp. 204 and 205, and runs to half the printed page. Titles aside, I found this to be a fascinating history of Rudbeck, a professor at the University of Uppsala. He devoted his life to exploring t...more
Christopher Merkley
I found this to be a gripping, fantastic read. King did an exceptional job of presenting Olaf in a fair light, both genius and mad obsessive. The idea that history is only one way, and everything we know today is correct is absurd and this is an interesting exploration of that dynamic. Whether you agree or not with the conclusions is not the point, the point is it gets you thinking and open to other ideas. And King gives you a great ride along the way.
Nov 17, 2009 Kelly marked it as to-read
This guy wrote one of my favorite history books ever (Vienna: 1814 <-- plugging it for any history dorks interested), and this looks great. On the to-read list it goes!
A fascinating read about a fascinating man who passionately believed that Sweden was the location for the lost city of Atlantis. I'd have rated it higher but for the fact that the author meanders into many side-notes, spiraling away from the main theme just enough that it becomes tangential.

That all of the information is interesting and/or presents the reader with gripping historical events and personalities is beyond doubt. It is a book packed with information. But I feel closer editing may ha...more
This is a biography of Olof Rudbeck, a 17th century Swedish medical doctor, architect, professor, musician -- in short, a polymath -- who propounded the theory that Sweden was the site of the ancient kingdom of Atlantis, as well as the land of the Hyperboreans of Greek mythology. Whereas the book seems to assume that the theory is wrong, it sounds plausible to me, and I'd like to know more about it.

Rudbeck himself was a very interesting character, and this book is very readable. But I wish there...more
Alright, raise your hand if you knew an eminent scholar from 17th century Sweden found evidence that Atlantis was actually in Sweden!
This book was an easy and pleasant read-good vacation reading. The author painted a vivid picture of Rudbeck and his difficulties with certain professors at Uppsala University, but he covered a large amount of time in just a few pages. I was left wanting to more about this seemingly remarkable man and his accomplishments. I did feel the book's subtitle "A True Story of Genius, Madness, and an Extraordinary Quest for a Lost World" was a little sensational. Rudbeck theories may seem "crazy" today,...more
Mo Tipton
I took this book on an eight hour train ride, and it certainly got me through the first hour or two, but I found myself losing interest as King focused more and more on the politics at Uppsala University. Granted, these weren't irrelevant, as Olof Rudbeck's disagreements with his fellow professors made it increasingly more difficult for him to conduct his research and to publish his findings, but I can't say I found it terribly fascinating.

I did, however, learn a fair amount about Swedish histo...more
I must admit, I didn't expect this book to be as amazing as it was. I only bought it because it was a bargain book. But the flowing prose and the moving story enthralled me. Though Finding Atlantis is a non-fiction title, it provides no "practical" knowledge. But it reaffirms my fundamental convictions about life on this earth and man's limitless potential. To me, this is art.
A fun book. Weak on the philosophical (and particularly the theological) background of the intellectual disputes in 17th century Uppsala, but it's nice to see this topic covered at all, and the writer has a fine style and lightly ironic tone that makes it easy to read.
I picked up this book at the library because of the tagline. I really wanted it to be more about how he came to have these theories (instead of the repercussions his theories had on his life and career) but it was still an interesting and eccentric read
Joel Lantz
The book took a while getting into the actual meat of the Atlantis theory, but once it did, it really took off. You get a good view into the obsession this man had for proving Sweden as more or less the cradle of classical mythology.
Jessica Howard
Not as entertaining as I'd hoped given the title. Also, very speculative about what Olof Rudbeck was thinking--I'd prefer more fact and less speculation. But I did learn more about Swedish culture/society than I knew before...
Aug 15, 2012 Pam marked it as gave-up-on
Shelves: history
I just could not get into this book, though I felt the subject was interesting. The writing didn't seem to hold my attention.
Loved "Darkness in the City of Light", but this was a little dry for my taste. I learned a lot, but it dragged on and on.
This book was passed to me and it was a great fit I loved it. What man and visionary.
Noran Miss Pumkin
Listing my bargain amazon books-10 for $25 total!
Nov 20, 2009 Laura marked it as to-read
Sounds intriguing.
Shaina Neal
Shaina Neal marked it as to-read
Sep 12, 2014
Lilya Petrova
Lilya Petrova marked it as to-read
Sep 10, 2014
Marko Mehner
Marko Mehner marked it as to-read
Aug 29, 2014
Jason added it
Aug 28, 2014
N Insley
N Insley marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2014
Willow marked it as to-read
Aug 11, 2014
Gotkuksool marked it as to-read
Aug 09, 2014
Mary marked it as to-read
Aug 04, 2014
Robbt E
Robbt E marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2014
Lisa Mayne
Lisa Mayne marked it as to-read
Jul 24, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Perdurabo, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Life of Aleister Crowley
  • Tolkien's Ring
  • The Key: A True Encounter
  • Ghostly Encounters: True Stories of America's Haunted Inns and Hotels
  • Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment
  • Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable-And Couldn't
  • Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization
  • Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History
  • Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights
  • Atlantis and Other Places: Stories of Alternate History
  • A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History's
  • I is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How it Shapes the Way We See the World
  • Wabi Sabi Love: The Ancient Art of Finding Perfect Love in Imperfect Relationships
  • Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work
  • The Mystery Of The Haunted Boxcar (The Boxcar Children, #100)
  • The Immortalization Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death
  • Modern China: A Very Short Introduction
  • A History of Japan
David King is the author of "Finding Atlantis", "Vienna 1814", and, most recently, "Death in the City of Light".
A Fulbright Scholar with a master's degree from Cambridge University, King taught European history at the University of Kentucky before becoming a full-time writer.
More about David King...
Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris Vienna 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made War, Peace, and Love at the Congress of Vienna The Commissar Vanishes Red Star Over Russia: A Visual History of the Soviet Union from the Revolution to the Death of Stalin Russian Revolutionary Posters: From Civil War to Socialist Realism, From Bolshevism to the End of Stalinism

Share This Book