John Anthony West's revolutionary reinterpretation of the civilization of Egypt challenges all that has been accepted as dogma concerning Ancient Egypt. In this pioneering study West documents that: Hieroglyphs carry hermetic messages that convey the subtler realities of the Sacred Science of the Pharaohs. Egyptian science, medicine, mathematics, and astronomy were more sophisticated than most modern Egyptologists acknowledge. Egyptian knowledge of the universe was a legacy from a highly sophisticated civilization that flourished thousands of years ago. The great Sphinx represents geological proof that such a civilization existed. This revised edition includes a new introduction linking Egyptian spiritual science with the perennial wisdom tradition and an appendix updating West's work in redating the Sphinx. Illustrated with over 140 photographs and line drawings.
Author, lecturer and guide, John Anthony West delivered a seismic shock to archaeology in the early 1990's when he and Boston University geologist Robert Schoch revealed that the Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt, showed evidence of rainfall erosion. Such erosion could only mean that the Sphinx was carved during or before the rains that marked the transition of northern Africa from the last Ice Age to the present interglacial epoch, a transition that occurred in the millennia from 10,000 to 5000 BC.
Wow! Great book! I didn't really expect this book to be so connected to deep spirituality after having seen John Anthony West in his videos. His writing comes across much more articulately. West has referenced the brilliant work of a former fellow "amateur" researcher, R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, whose insights have been generally overlooked by mainstream archeologists. Though West gently derides the ineptitude of most egyptologists and their bookish detours, he finally credits them with having established the scientific methods which will probably serve to prove what both of these men could see far ahead of their time.
I come away feeling that West has found the missing link. Not only in regards to the understanding of the Ancient Egyptians, but for a lost system of transformation for humanity. This, in all likelihood is what Gurdjieff meant when he said, after returning from his tour of Egypt, that he had discovered "Christianity before Christ". This connection with the purpose for the entire Egyptian society, an express function of transformation, represents a quantum shift; a potential for consciousness to recognize itself and the materiality of the mind to lessen its grip on us.
I started with my review with my conclusion, however the text of the book lays the foundation for this realization by methodically and scientifically cataloging the height of accomplishment of the Old Kingdom Egyptians through their architecture and sculpture where a very high level of mathematics and craftsmanship is evident to the studious eye. By the appendix of the book we can see the early reinforcements of the now famous Dr. Schoch, who as one of the world's top geological hydrology experts has set the construction date for the Sphinx back far further than any Egyptologist would have ever dared to guess. His expert analysis is based on the water erosion patterns, attributing them to many years of RAIN WATER from before the time when Egypt was desert. Dr. Schoch has lain his professional career on the line by sharing his conclusions and steadfastly holds to them. He has also written several books.
Some of West's passages would have been more convincing to the left brain analytical thought process had even more hard evidence been provided. However, I have learned long ago that the right brain must participate in the process of understanding at least on an equal basis if not more so once a person finds their intuitive core. West speaks to the reader from this place TO that place in a very subtle way that caused me to wonder if the entire book weren't some sort of initiatory process. Quite a wonderful way of presenting this fascinating material, and a gift for us all.
John Anthony West has an ax to grind. There are mainstream Egyptologists and they are all "sucking from the same tit" which is what West calls "The Church Of Progress." They all propagate and viciously defend the notion of evolution in which all cultures and civilizations of the past were primitive, and we today are the smartest, best, and most advanced (even though we have no idea how the ancient Egyptians built or did much of what they did,or how they knew what they knew.) Anyone with ideas or perspectives that are different from what all the mainstream Egyptologists dogmatically adhere to is ridiculed and ostracized.
Enter West, champion and presenter of the ideas of Schwaller De Lubicz, a Frenchman who developed a rich, meaningful, and plausible Symbolist perspective.
What if the sphinx is much much older than the mainstream contends?
What if the civilization was much more advanced than we are willing to admit?
What if these questions help us topple some of the cherished assumptions we blindly hold (and defend)?
How might we redefine civilization? Redefine ourselves?
Are we today who see ourselves as consumers, more advanced than an ancient people who related their existence to their place in the cosmos?
These are just some of the questions this amazing book calls up.
And here is another amazing thing about this book. West does not just present his (and Schwaller De Lubicz's) perspective! The exhaustive footnotes contain differing perspectives for comparison!
The implications that are raised with and by the questions that are raised in this book are quite far-reaching, but you will have to read the book to see what I mean.
I picked this up due to recommendation from Dr. Matt Johnson on one of his podcasts. R. A. Schwaller de Lubiz is someone who is oft referenced by a number of scholars with whose work I’m already familiar, like Aaron Cheak, so I suppose that it is nice to have approachable crash-course in his thinking. Some things to note: 1. This work is written in this highly polemical style. One can forgive it given the subject matter as well the way in which Schwaller de Lubiz and his admirers have been treated (that is, when they were even acknowledged) by the academia. Sadly, this makes any sort of sympathetic reaction for those dogmatically subscribed to mainstream reading of Egyptian civilization even less likely (tho, author makes a decent case for why attempts to „play nice“ in the past never really worked, nor are they likely to in the future). 2. By its nature, it is both extremely dense and extremely broad regarding the covered subjects. This means that only this very limited number of readers will have smooth experience with this work as a whole. Some chapters will naturally be of significantly less interest depending on one‘s interests and background. For myself, I would’ve loved to read more on Pythagorean number symbolism as well as more of symbolist reading of Egyptian religion and texts. Analysis of the connection with Gurdjieff‘s teaching was teased, but the subject was barely touched upon. There are other fascinating subjects, like medicine, where one’s appetite is merely whetted. On the other hand, chapter dealing with the Sphinx was really a hard going, even if the evidence presented appears convincing enough for someone like me who is all but utterly ignorant in the maters of geology.
One needn't follow the author in all of his conclusions – some are extremely speculative indeed – but it does make for some fascinating reading overall, and makes great case for there being far more to Ancient Egypt than most folks accept (mind you, this isn't something that I need any convincing about) as well as displaying the woeful deficiencies and limitations of the mainstream Egyptologist approach (explaining some oddities that most folks interested in the subject will be aware of without understanding their background, like say how is it that the translations as well as shallow interpretations of Egyptian texts are the way they are compared to translations and interpretations of texts from other ancient civilizations) and offering another example of those „methods“ employed by academia in order to silence and eliminate any new and dissenting theories. I suppose that one thing left to me now is to actually, finally read Schwaller de Lubiz‘s own work.
I will start this review by commenting on other reviews I have read about the work. It strikes me as supportive of the authors points when the main criticism of this book fits so neatly into two main trains of thought.
The first is that the author is too critical, zealous even, in his distain for the modern "science" of egyptology. They frame him as set against "firm knowledge", understood by 300 years of orthodoxy, and assure those considering this book that it amounts to "woo woo" without any scientific basis. This view seems to support the authors point about the field of study, as well as his view of how easily convinced the masses are. This book provided very quantitative support for the distinct claims it makes. None of which are refuted with anything but flailing and character attacks.
The second is that the book is so gratuitously fallacious that it could not be completed beyond the first chapter or so. Yet, armed with a self-admittedly small amount of study, the "reader" still feels the need to write a review bashing the work for its lack of informed study. I find this ironic on a level deserving an award.
That said, this book is, in my mind, divided into two halves. The first attempts to describe a world view from the perspective of ancient Egyptians, supported by evidence. That world view is very different than our own, and the author's description of this thought often feels like he is making a case for the viewpoint itself instead of giving a description of what the viewpoint is.
I got through that section convinced that while I think his intention was the later, no doubt the former is also true to some extent, even if not intentioned consciously. I also never lost my apprehension for his "conclusions" but also never lost the feeling that it really did seem to make an uncomfortable amount of sense.
The second half is focused on the quantitatively measurable science around the structures. He builds a case quite effectively for the need to rethink the age of this already most ancient of civilizations. If correct, these implications challenge dramatically the orthodox beliefs about human history in the grand sense. He builds an equally good case for how what little evidence provided to sure up the currently agreed upon figures serve more to show what little there is to support the orthodoxies view, and how that motivates more than any reasonable disagreement the complete lack of debate.
I have a hard time writing reviews. Trying to figure out a way of briefly stating my appreciation of a book that has given me the fuel for hours of contemplation and lead to numerous long conversations doesn’t come easy to me. Let me just say this is an extraordinary work. It is for anyone who has ever been intrigued or moved by ancient Egyptian art or architecture, but found that the information perceived through their five senses did not jive with that of the information presented by the academic establishment. Obviously there was more to be said, and that word came from R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz. But that word is made imminently more accessible through the work of John Anthony West. West perfectly encapsulates this in saying “Schwaller de Lubicz's works are meant to be studied, this book is meant to be read.” And what a pleasure it is to read. Everything you would want in a book is here. There is a flow to the writing and wit to be found alongside wisdom. I find West’s use of analogy for concise explanation insightful and refreshing. There was not a moment that I was not captivated by this book.
A brilliant work! This is a must read for anyone interested in the higher learning of the ancient Egyptians of anyone interested in spiritual matters, the creation of the universe, and your place in it. John Anthony West puts a whole different spin on the standard narrative you have heard and teaches you to understand symbolism.
This book is a prelude to a major paradigm shift in our understanding of how history actually played out, as opposed to what our social and religious conventions have dictated that we accept about our past.
It isn't easy to read or follow. It explores the theories of an obscure Hungarian* egyptologist named Schwaller de Lubich, who wrote in French and favored an interpretation of ancient Egypt that overturns established thinking.
Good for him. I cannot even describe how utterly laughable I find the notion that the Egyptians built the pyramids with ropes and pulleys that moved huge blocks of stone on logs. In a desert? Where did they get all that wood? How could they move stones that weigh far too much to be moved with so-called modern machinery? But I digress...
In elegant prose, the author delves into the symbolist theory of what the ancient Egyptians believed about themselves and the universe, asserting that their civilization was the remains of an older and much more advanced culture. That, of course, is an absolute no-no in conventional thiinking.
At the end of the book, West includes as an afterthought what turns out to be Schwaller de Lubich's most momentous insight: the erosion on the Sphinx is from water, not wind/sand.
West has since pursued scientific studies of the Sphinx's erosion with geologist/geophysicist Robert M. Schoch that confirm this observation, kicking off a sandstorm of controversy. Lots of blowback from the archeological establishment, which is naturally not eager to acknowledge its utter ignorance about Egypt (or anything else).
What fun--and high time. This book is the background you need to set the entire debate in a full context. It's intriguing and provocative reading as well. Not for closed minds.
*Author John Anthony West tells me Schwaller de Lubich was Alsatian, not Hungarian. That's what I get for churning out this review entirely from memory.
This book is an absolute must for anyone remotely interested in Egyptology, Symbolism , Atlantis, Archaeology, Geology and Esotericism. J. Wests writing is very much drawn from his own experience ( a geologist) working in Egypt on the Giza complex. And his work with Lubicz...whose Symbolist interpretation of Egyptology, turns most of what we know about Egypt on its head. And actually makes a lot of sense out of the tomes of Papyrus and works we have from ancient Egypt. Needless to say, it has many conventional Egyptologists fidgetting in their seats, and some Scientists alike.
The work undertaken, includes Geology of the Sphinx and temple complex. Showing that the erosion is due to precipitation, not sand and wind damage. And that the Sphinx , if correct, could me much, much older than we currently think. Tie this up with a complete re-interpretation of Egyptology and we have "Serpent in the Sky"
There are a lot of reference along the way in the book (most in small writing) to show both arguments and views. i am not so sure this works too well, and made the reading a bit difficult going in places, with information overload. Otherwise this book may have got 5 stars. However perservere and the information given is very much worthwhile, with some Eureka moments thrwon in for good measure. Enjoy!
I can't help but feel that John Anthony West concludes this exploration of Schwaller's de Lubicz's works with a sense of bitterness aimed toward the status quo in Egyptological studies. It's a bit like shaking one's fist at a monolith - a futile gesture at best. The merit in making Schwaller de Lubicz's work accessible to the layman is to suggest that one take a more holistic view of Egypt's past, and the Pythagorean angle is quite compelling in that regard.
However, West's constant harping on the Atlantis originator myth left me cold. I'd like to suggest this: does it matter to us now whether the Sphinx and its attendant mortuary temple predate Dynastic Egypt? My feeling is that West sets up this concept as a straw dog in order to prove that contemporary Egyptologists are on the wrong path.
Or maybe I've just been hanging out with too many "serious" academics to take West entirely seriously. If anything good has come out of me rereading this work, it is to pique my interest in Pythagorean theory.
This book is an invaluable guide to those attempting The_Temple_of_Man or other Schwaller de Lubicz books. It is far more accessible and also contains West's own groundbreaking research into weathering patterns on the Sphinx that support this alternative interpretation of Egyptian history, and is even more important to read if you aren't going to attempt Schwaller de Lubicz at all.
Lots of juicy and evidentially well supported alternative interpretations of Egyptian history may be found in this book.
My single criticism is that the author spends much time bitterly complaining about the established scientific orthodoxy, and such whining while occasionally informative quickly becomes repetitive and just isn't any fun to read. Though of course those who are unfamiliar with outsider critiques of the current scientific status quo will may find this more informative.
The sudden appearance of Egyptian civilization, circa 3100 BC, is one of the most striking phenomena of history, unless, as suggested by de Lubicz and West, it received the knowledge as a legacy from an earlier civilization. The authors mention that it could be the Atlantean, but they are unable to specify more details. In my book Sailors of Stonehenge i arrive to the same conclusion, but i give the details of who were the Atlanteans. All in all, Serpent in the Sky is a wonderful contribution to our knowledge of the Egyptian civilization through the symbolism of its architecture and art.
This book was great fun to read and quite provocative, but one would like to see it combined with a critique by an established Egyptologist. In any case, one hopes such established authorities read this kind of material because there apparently are things that people like West and Graham Hancock note which are worthy of consideration. What about the weathering of the sphinx or the way the pyramids of Giza map on to Orion constellation?
It wasn't all that I was hoping for, but if you have real interest in Schwaller de Lubicz and/or "alternative" Egyptology, then it's a great summing up and gentle intro into the world number/cosmology.
J.A.W shits all over the stuffy, dogmatic, cynical academia of conventional archeology/egyptology. He even goes so far as to put their arguments in the margin parallel to his writing so that you can digest both viewpoints simultaneously and choose which to spit out, and which to swallow, which is as gallus as it is brilliant. And it’s a nobrainer: the evidence for the symbolist view of Egypt as an advanced civilisation with great knowledge and high wisdom is insurmountable and accurate and proven. In comparison, the traditional 19th Century view of Ancient Egyptians as “materialistic primitives with minds halfasleep” is paltry, underwhelming and based primarily on assumptions and opinions and a fundamental lack of understanding. J.A.W explains perfectly why the dogmatic view holds out, and unapologetically shoots it down. He eloquently presents the work of de Lubicz, himself, Robert Schoch, and many others in clear detail which is easy to understand and with plenty of corroborating evidence to support it. I needed no convincing, after already consuming many books, articles, lectures and documentaries, from both sides of the argument, and even visiting the pyramids myself, I think anyone who can’t see that Egypt is the legacy of a lost advanced civilisation must have a brain full of wool, or suffer from a debilitating ego, or have their head firmly entrenched in the sand, or simply hasn’t looked into it. This book though, is probably the best one I’ve read yet as far as providing the info. and knowledge clearly, in order to reveal the true magic of Egypt. As you may or may not know it was J.A.W who enlisted the help of geologists to prove the Sphinx was actually millennia older than previously thought, far predating dynastic Egypt. For any Egyptophiles, this is probably the most essential book ever written on the subject. Clear, concise, informed and levelheaded, presenting everything we’ve learned in the past century or so, from BOTH sides of the argument. By the end of the book it is the mainstream academics that look like the crackpots, not the other way around, and so it should be. The work in this book is the work of men and women who have spent decades studying their subject, applying mathematics and science, rather than relying on speculation and assumption as so many do. The symbolist interpretation (of Egypt being based on profound and precise knowledge of the mysteries of creation) is supported very strongly here by historical, linguistic and mathematical evidence. If you only ever read one book on Egypt, make it this one. Beautifully illustrated, poetically written, and every page bursting with incredible revelations! It will help to have an interest in the material but even if you don’t it will probably spark one. You will leave with a deep, rich, textured understanding of the subject by the end of the book, even if you fancy yourself already quite versed.
John West's book is an important reader along with the pioneering insights of Graham Hancock. For the first time, John opened up a deep, new vista of learning that blew me away.
Frequently, the trend of historical narcissism assumes that our later developments supercede the intellectual capacity of ancient man. And yet, John brushes aside our hunger for materialistic data, and focuses on the philosophical and esoteric underpinnings of the ancient world.
In theological history, Egypt has always been held up as the antithesis to the Hebrew pursuit of truth and God. It's always seemed strange to me why, since Sumer is even older, and Abram was drawn from its culture long before Moses accepted the call to emancipate the Hebrews. Or the multiple other cultures that attacked and enslaved Israel, such as Babylon.
John's book is a riveting overview of the worldview that the Egyptians either created for themselves, or carefully passed down from older times. It is a worldview that struggles to be complete, that incorporates everything, that sees deep theological meaning in the mathematics and expressions of matter and spirit.
It would have been a worldview intimately familiar to Moses, and the Hebrew peoples, not to mention shades of normal to many in the ancient world. What I appreciated most is that John approaches the topics from a position of true reverence. He firmly believes that these tenets and views will save the modern world from itself, will draw us more completely into the magnificent mysteries of the cosmos.
As convincingly as it all ties together, it all hinges on the origin stories and first moments of its theology. So long as you don't poke too hard, or rattle its spiritual bars, the rest of the conclusions follow like a happy equation.
But that is where Genesis, rigorous philosophy and Thomism, and 2000 years of phenomenally deep introspection and revelation help us make sense of our past. On its surface, John seems to paint a beautifully complex picture.
I would love to see much of this ancient thinking salvaged and steam-cleaned. Far too often do we slip around or kick aside the wisdom of the pagan world, because we are afraid of it, or too ready to paint it all with a black brush.
And yet when we put the human soul, and the constant hungering of a God for all mankind to come to know and return love to Him, we start to see light amid the shadows in the cave. We can see how the hermetic and occultic writings are pinned against truths of math, observation, and astronomy.
We need people confident and aware of truth to go sifting for truth among the hells and Heavens of the old world. If only to restore dignity and glory to our older brethren.
And more importantly, to get a clearer picture of Sacred Scripture's meaning, history, and context.
While not a book I would recommend for someone starting out in the study of Ancient Egypt, it did very well for someone like myself with a medium knowledge of the geography/history of the period but who becomes confused by the contradictory dates and theories of competing Egyptologists.
Simplifying the pioneering work of explorer and author Schwaller de Lubicz , West explains the obvious esoteric background behind ancient Egypt without resorting to either facile deconstructionism or unbelievable fantasy.
In my opinion, it requires time and attention to absorb but is well worth the effort for what it reveals about our origins and the fundamental purpose of human life.
West stands on the shoulders of R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz to distinguish between empiricism and cosmically directed thinking. The West - and its academics whom he disparages - is awash in empiricism without knowing what their piles of data amount to. Since they (as any culture) operates with the assumption that their way of thinking is better than alternate ways, when they investigate Ancient Egypt's thought remnants they conclude that the ancients did not think very well. Indeed, they compare the ancients with children. To so conclude is to miss the chasm across which one must leap to see, feel, and act as an Egyptian. The thrust of Egyptian thinking was not to try to figure out the "is." They started with a given "is" derived from the principles that operate in mathematics and play out in the heavens, in music, and in nature. It is clear that they emanated from the belief that they discerned cosmic generation. Their thinking, their writing, their architecture, their rituals, and the symbols that adorn their buildings are all vehicles to transport one to the divine principle if not to divine life. Thus we could say their thinking was action-oriented rather than "empirical." This key distinction leads to a detailed question of the age of Ancient Egypt: was it 4000 years or was it 23,000 years. Interesting that the difference is 19,000 - given their use of 19.
How I long for a student of Egypt to stumble upon a clue that would unlock the sound of ancient Egyptian. How could THAT happen? It could. Think of how the Dead Sea Scrolls were found - a little boy looking for a lamb (or was it a sheep?) Probably we will not find the key, though - for the method of teaching was oral and the operational principle was mystery.
A great, in-depth presentation on the Symbolist Egypt view. Quite complex, especially from a mathematical perspective and it does contain some rather hard notions to grasp, especially in relation to abstract summaries regarding Pythagorean theorems. But for the determined reader, it is very interesting although I'm skeptical of the end-results and not 100% convinced.
The latter section regarding the Sphinx was a highlight and lifted the book out of a certain mid-section doldrum, but the additional Appendices, especially the 2nd one were nothing but angry rants at an established order (Egyptologists in general).
Be warned, not everything presented in this book is factually correct. Certain discoveries have since been refuted after it was published, so take certain excerpts with a grain of salt.
A good friend, who is something of a rare soul and a modern-day mystic, asked me to read it and to discuss it with him. He provided me with an annotated (by him) PDF of the text. The most fascinating part for me was his gloss, as it gave me a rare glimpse into his frenzied mind. The book itself I can't really review since I didn't finish it, but I had a hard time getting through the part that I did. It WAS somewhat interesting, and while I find this particular brand of mystical Egyptian conspiracy history to be rather annoying as a rule, this book seems to have enough going for it that it is probably worth a read. However, I have too many other things I want to read right now. So, abandoned for the moment.
Very engaging summary of the "symbolist" interpretation of ancient Egyptian civilization. Making a point of challenging the "orthodoxy" in Egyptology, which assumes somehow that these monuments were built by "hunter-gatherers," or superstitious primitives. (They have a bias in thinking that it is impossible for anyone to do any real thinking before the Greeks.) West shows how developed was Egyptian culture, in many ways ahead of us. The theories of the older Sphinx may even show that the Egyptians received much of their wisdom from an even older, lost civilization (Atlantis?). Excellent.
John Anthony West calls himself a Pythagorean and this book is a wonderful expression of that spirit. To all who enter this book, however, it is only far to warn them: say goodbye to conventional Egyptology. I can't say that West convinced me with everything he had to say but I was persuaded by the general idea of his approach. The material is always interesting, West is an excellent and articulate writer and there is much to think about. I was greatly impressed by this book. I will have to re-read it sometime.
This has some really amazing information, but I wish he would stop talking about how everyone else disagrees and just present his theory. I skipped over most of the book, because it was repetitive and uninspiring, just talking about the Egyptologist's agenda.
Max Planck once said, "Great scientific theories do not usually conquer the world through being accepted by opponents who, gradually convinced of their truth, have finally adopted them. It is always rare to find a Saul becoming a Paul. What happens is that opponents of the new idea finally die off and the following generation grows up under its influence. (p. 234)
Alexander von Humboldt, the great nineteenth-century naturalist, was equally caustic, 'First they will deny a thing, then they will belittle it, then they will decide that it had been known long ago' (p. 234)
This book had so much potential, but to me, it was okay. I did appreciate the author's approach that Egypt obtained its technology and its religion from someone, it does not show evidence of evolution in the practical sense. He goes on at lengths to prove his point. I would have liked more explanation as to what I am looking at with regard to Egyptian, more interpretation, as he calls it. He stressed the importance of having things interpreted properly, and that Egyptologists are only scratching at the surface as to what it all means, and the whole time he is doing this, I am begging him to explain it all. But he doesn't. So for me, this book had hope, with some good quotes, but did not hit the mark.
I think this book is really great, BUT... I think the boundless concept of Egypt as the ideal society, never to be again achieved nor understood, is a little bit out of the question. West never says these words exactly, but there is definitely a pointed finger directing the reader to presume Ancient Egypt, especially of the early dynastic/pyramid period, was perfect. Though I will agree there is a lot to say about Ma'at and so on, there is no 100% and with a little doubt it should be more so clear as to why the First Intermediate Period was so destructive and reversing - because the "wholesome" aspect of Ancient Egypt wasn't as righteous as many of us love to dream. This book appears a bit of a reach, but I also do not know French and cannot traverse the valley for which Lubicz's river (perspective) carved - something I would openly review. The only way I can justify this in my mind is to see this book and those like it as mathematically equal in opposition to those forces for which these texts lean - in other words, one must over-indulge/stimulate to offset. Nonetheless, lubicz may have well just been really into it.
A very important book that should re-ignite debate on Egypt and the potential that, as Graham Hancock put it, "we are a species with amnesia". Was there a more ancient civilization that skidded through the catastrophic ice age?
Some of the geometric and symbolic theories are interesting, but problematic. Take any structure, piece of land, or interesting shape and you can impose and overlay all sorts of math, geometry, star maps, etc. Creating patterns out of nothing is easy when you're looking for those patterns (such as the legendary "face" on Mars).
The fact that West mentioned homeopathy in the book didn't help either. (sadface)