Who doesnít love Erich von Daniken? He was out there (no pun intended) pitching his ancient astronaut theories long before the current crop of alternative history celebs were born, and he hasnít given up yet.
Best known for his hugely successful first book, Chariots of the Gods, von Danikenís name is synonymous with either groundbreaking historical research or woo-woo crackpots, depending upon your point of view. In a nutshell, von Daniken contends that traditional explanations for artifacts, folklore, and religious doctrine are flawed, and he encourages a thorough study of the evidence with an open mind. Chariots of the Gods was his attempt at just that, and his conclusion is that all the signs point toward the intervention of extraterrestrial beings in human affairs.
The latest book in the von Daniken canon, History Is Wrong, continues to push his belief that angels, demons, and the pantheon of just about any culture you can name were, in fact, extraterrestrial visitors to Earth. He kicks off History Is Wrong with a discussion of the Voynich Manuscript, that mysterious document that has never been translated from the still-unidentified language in which it is written. The Voynich Manuscript also contains illustrations that may or may not connect to the text. Throughout History Is Wrong, von Daniken attempts to connect a variety of religious beliefs and historical mysteries to the Voynich Manuscript in his rambling but enthusiastic fashion.
Along the way, he plods through the usual list of curiosities Ė the Nazca lines, the pyramids of Egypt and the Americas, Biblical references to blazing chariots. History Is Wrong also tackles the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka Mormons, and attempts to connect the angel Moroni and the Urim and Thumim to his theory as well as to the Voynich Manuscript.
As it happens, von Daniken has the ability to make a convincing argument for his ancient astronaut theory. He pulls some real puzzlers from scientific evidence and he isnít afraid of being laughed at for his unorthodox opinions. The trouble with History Is Wrong is that the author wanders away from his subject every few pages in order to blast his critics and to reassert his own theories that have been published in his previous books.
Fans of von Daniken will want to own this book in order to complete the collection, but readers shouldnít expect anything fresh and enlightening from this one. While von Daniken starts out gangbusters with the tale of the Voynich Manuscript, he fails to reveal any new information about that or about any of the other topics he bumps into. While his first few books presented some original thoughts and entertaining thought-fodder, History Is Wrong is an uninspired and totally egocentric self-defense of the authorís earlier work.