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The Lost Empire of Atlantis: History's Greatest Mystery Revealed

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  510 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews

“Tremendous. This guy has done history like you would not believe.”
—Glenn Beck

The secrets of history’s most enduring mystery are finally revealed in The Lost Empire of Atlantis. Through impeccable research and intelligent speculation, Gavin Menzies, the New York Times bestselling author of 1421, uncovers the truth behind the mysterious “lost” city of Atlantis—making the st

Hardcover, 380 pages
Published (first published 2011)
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Mar 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Gavin Menzies is a retired submarine captain from the British Royal Navy, whose retirement hobby is pursuing unlikely beliefs about long-past history. In this book he recounts his pursuit of a belief that the sometimes-thought mythical country of Atlantis was in fact an island nation that was a collection of city states comprising the Minoan nation on Thera (now called Santorini) and Crete and other nearby islands in the Mediterranean, with that civilization having been destroyed when the volcan ...more
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have always been fascinated by Atlantis. I also have a strong interest in ancient history. So this book was a perfect choice, really, since it deftly combined both topics. Sure, Menzies can be accused of making certain suppositions and then finding evidence to it the theory as he traverses continents, to the proverbial hammer it all looks like nails. But it's SO interesting, so well researched, so accessibly written that even if you don't buy into the main premise, there is still much here to ...more
Oct 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
There are many interesting facts sprinkled in, but it felt to me that this book is a bit out there in terms of scientific robustness. Between actual, interesting, hard scientific facts Menzies throw in random, unscientific, personal postulation to "connect the dots" to make his case. The book would have been stronger if it stuck to the science, been more rigorous and objective, and stopped straying into the world of conspiracy theory. My favorite, where he cites a "USA Today article" as suddenly ...more
Jul 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
Menzies has done it again. 'Th Lost Empire of Atlantis' is filled with speculation taken as fact as he had done with his previous books on pseudo archaeology. He may have been in the Royal Navy (indicted for a ship collision during his service) but he knows nothing about ancient seafaring, navigation, ship building, or trade. His speculation about the Minoans is also laughably wrong. Buried in his exploration of the ancient world is some good hard facts but the reader would be better served read ...more
Elizabeth Sulzby
This book confirms my thought that I should return to Knossos on Crete. Menzies describes other rediscovered palaces of the Minoan era--before the great eruption of the volcano on Thera/Santorini. He also charts the evidence that during 7000 BCE and afterwards, the Minoans were not just trading/adventuring seafarers in the Mediteranean area, but traveled around the world. Recently discovered evidence from the oil pithoi, serving pieces, artwork all suggest that Menzies is correct but the most in ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crocks-of-crap
Interesting and entertaining premise that the Mediterranean Minoan culture, which flourished circa 2,500 B.C., sailed the globe, explored North America, and even mined copper on what we now know as Isle Royale in Lake Superior, then transported the ore down the Mississippi and back across the Atlantic, among other astounding feats of ancient navigation and technology recounted in this book. However, apart from being fairly entertaining in a "what if" kind of way-which is why I gave it 2 stars-th ...more
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
Mar 21, 2014 marked it as no-thanks
So I recently found out that Menzies basically makes up his own idea of history, and that really depresses me because if they were true I would LOVE to read his books. As it is, my dad bought me this one for Christmas a few years ago and I'll probably wind up reading it because I would feel insanely guilty for getting rid of it without at least trying -- it's a brand new hardcover. I was suckered in by Atlantis and the pretty cover, sue me.
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I don’t recall where I got to know about this book, but I had it in my wish list. When I got my hands on it finally, it was amazing how the book took hold of me.

Gavin Menzies takes us on his journey to rediscover the Lost Empire of Atlantis. He builds up on his theory that the Minoan empire was more accomplished that it is assumed. He tries to bring together facts and goes on to try to prove that the Minoan civilization had extensive sea faring abilities and that they might have discovered Ameri
Aug 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
I really expected to love this book, but it didn't hold my interest. The author's writing style bothers me. I'd rather be reading something else.
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this reminded me of a comment I saw on Twitter recently: "Archaeology isn't really about 'facts'. It's about interpretation". Menzies certainly does a lot of interpreting in this book.

To be fair, mainstream archeology has often underestimated just how sophisticated ancient civilisations were, looking back on people in the past with an unwarranted sense of superiority. It has also, with similar lack of justification, sneered at the ability of amateurs to make a genuine contribution to ou
Michael Durant
This book is not nearly as rigorously researched as I had hoped it would be. Menzies was clearly hit by a flash of inspiration, partly divine, partly mad, and just went with it. In his rush to show his readers the connections between Minoan Crete, Stonehenge, Plato's accounts of fabled Atlantis, and the missing copper of Lake Superior, he forgets to ruthlessly question his hypothesis.

This ultimately leaves Lost Empire as a slight book, albeit one padded to length by his travelogue detailing his
Jeff Barlow
Dec 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Gavin's book, The Lost Empire of Atlantis, is handicapped by the writing style, as many have noted. But, it's worth plowing through some of the dry prose to hear his story. First off, hats of to this guy. He has organized a research team and pursued years systematic research of the ancient world because he loves it. How many of us every pursue our passions like that?

But beyond that, and I'm talking to you skeptics, where there is smoke, there's fire. The Minoans and Druids and Egyptians aren't s
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
not off to a very exciting start - his 1421 was so full of holes and speculation I was curious about this one - we shall see

not getting any better - doubt I will finish - all about how the Minoans on Crete were the real Atlantic - full of dropped names and places with no real story linie - at least not yet 1/2 way through

Finished it but must say, it is far fetched and not very well written - Menzies is a crock
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up
The author's voice really bothered me...I wanted less of him and more of the archaeology/science behind this growing theory.
Charles Suddeth
Dec 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting idea, but I question the author's credentials and grasp of science.
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having sustained a lifelong fascination with the story of Atlantis, this book was a natural choice for me. Gavin Menzies was a submarine captain and obviously has a vast knowledge of naval matters both modern and historical. I loved his enthusiasm and his acknowledgement of the role the various experts played in research for this book; from archaeologists to linguists, from mathematicians to astronomists the author quotes at length his source's verification of his theories. It displays several m ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have read several books on Atlantis,( it is a subject that has always fascinated me) so I was per-disposed to like this one. Although I enjoy any books about Atlantis, I prefer theories based on actual archeological evidence, which favor the ancient Minoan civilization based on the Mediterranean islands of Crete and Thera as the most likely basis for legends of Atlantis.
Some of the conjecture about the location, size and technological capabilities of "Atlantis" can get pretty far out there wi
Helen Ollerenshaw
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Provides an insightful history of the Bronze Age civilisation of the Minoans and the connection of peoples and civilisations globally. Whether the Minoan Civilisation was Atlantis is based on historical accounts and finding correlations between the two. This book did provide me with a much stronger understanding of the bronze age peoples and cultures and the global trade in Copper and Tin as well as the significant environmental changes created by the demand for these raw materials...
Alison Spinney
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I bought into 1421 for sure. But, although Menzies finds some seemingly compelling evidence to support his theory about the Minoans, it sometimes felt like a reach. I agree that any NEW idea that goes against the established thinking by archeologists and scholars will be negated and ridiculed, I'm just not convinced. Having been to Crete and knowing something about Minoan history, I found the whole premise fascinating!
Barbara Bengston
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jim Kratz
Shelves: audiobook
I found the information amazing, especially the research involved. Anyone interested in the history of Atlantis would greatly appreciate this book.
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The legend of a fabled Atlantis is found in Plato’s writings and has generated a multitude of books and movies. In this book, Menzies builds the case that the island of Santorini (Thera in ancient times) was the center of a worldwide trading empire and a truly advanced civilization. He takes advantage of a detailed fresco unearthed in Akrotiri and preserved in a museum in Crete and recent discovery of a sunken bronze age boat in the eastern Mediterranean as well as his own nautical knowledge to ...more
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
The topic of Atlantis offering some detailed archaeology is always appealing to me, and this book promised to have much of the recent discoveries. it is generally accepted now that the Minoan Civilisation is the origin of the Atlantis Legend and for forty years we have linked its sudden decline to a massive eruption on the island of Santorini.
We also accept that there was a lot of international trade in the bronze age. The origins of grave goods in the tombs of the Pharaohs tells us they traded
Lisa Llamrei
In this book, Menzies presents evidence for the theory that Atlantis was, in fact, the Minoan civilization, which was destroyed by a major volcanic eruption on the island of Thera (now called Santorini). This isn't a new theory; in fact, the island of Santorini widely claims to be Atlantis. What Menzies does is take it further by presenting evidence that may suggest that the Minoans traded as far away as North America.

I am not knowledgeable enough to judge the accuracy of the evidence presented.
May 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I guess a lot of people have taken issue with Menzies' writing style in this book. I definitely found it to be oddly casual at times (he seems to spend an awful lot of time describing drinks & his past adventures), and strangely organized as well.

The book (and his theory)'s development follows his own meandering journey as he uncovers/connects previously unknown & unconnected information -- and while this is sort of interesting from a "oh, so this is how he got from this idea to that on
Susan Olesen
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Oh. My. Goodness. This book is enough to make your brain explode. Speculate: The ancient island of Santorini near Crete was home to the advanced Minoan civilization - a civilization so far advanced they were able to calculate latitude, longitude, and even fractions a thousand years before anyone else, and created the largest sea-faring empire for 2,000 years - traveling from India all the way to the Americas, as far as Lake Superior. The Minoans built astronomical markers and megalithic stone ca ...more
This is a pretty fantastic book, and Atlantis is really only mentioned about a dozen or so times throughout the book I think. Most of it is devoted to the premise that the Minoan civilization on Crete (circa 3,000 BCE - 1400 BCE) was more then a predecessor of the Mycenaean and Greek civilizations but a world spanning maritime trading empire.

At first the theory sounds like something out of the next National Treasure movie, but Menzies did a lot of research that I have to admit wouldn't have bee
Paul Lunger
Feb 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Gavin Menzies in his latest book takes a much closer & in depth look into the society of the Minoans (3200-1450 B.C.) who are believed & may very well have been the people behind the myths & legends of Atlantis. In a journey that goes from the Mediterranean to North America & back, Menzies follows the clues & artifacts of this one powerful society & pieces together evidence that proves this ancient society may've done a lot more than people realize. Across the pages the r ...more
Collin Duncan
Dec 26, 2014 rated it liked it
I tend to like Menzies' books and have enjoyed his other works on the Chinese. Which is why I'm inclined to think perhaps he should have stayed in the Far East...

This book still maintains the author's unique storytelling style that makes history less of a bore and more of a thriller combined with excellent first hand data that most authors simply eschew. This single sentence allocated him three stars.

Unfortunately, his style wasn't enough. This book has a slow start littered with Menzies' perso
Some good research here, but some leaps as well. However there are some amazing facts uncovered, which, when put together provide a strong case for the Minoans having got much of their copper from America. It sounds outlandish, because it doesn't sit well with traditional history, yet there are some very good pieces of physical evidence - and anyone who doesn't like it has to explain the Minoan votive carvings on the Mississipi and around Lakes Michigan and Superior. And also, where the missing ...more
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
While this book seemed to start out slowly, it gathered momentum after a few chapters, and then became one of those books that you say "I'll just read to the end of this chapter" but then you keep on saying it until, without even realizing it, you've finished the book.

The author offers some interesting theories, some his, some belonging to others, but by the end of the book, he ties them all together fairly neatly. He also goes back to Greek "myths" which may actually provide historic documentat
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Former British submarine commander and amateur historian.

Menzies is most known for his book "1421: The Year China Discovered the World" which claims that the Chinese admiral Zheng He discovered America in 1421.

In his follow up book "1434" He claims that the European Renaissance was sparked by the Chinese.
More about Gavin Menzies