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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Message of the Sphinx: A Quest for the Hidden Legacy of Mankind (audiobook) by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval

Published by Audio Literature in March of 1998.
Read by Nick Ullett
Duration: 3 hours

I picked this one up on a whim. Having already read and reviewed Hancock's Heaven's Mirror several years ago, I knew what I was getting myself into - lots of alternative, well-researched ideas that cause you to think, "Well...maybe..."

The first half of the audiobook was just that. Questions about the weathering on the Sphinx. Unexplained unwillingness to research into what lies below the Sphinx (is it a cavern? a room? a geologic anomaly?), challenges to the orthodox Egyptology's interpretations.

Lots of good fun and as a history teacher I encourage challenges to Orthodoxy - for example, until fairly recently the Maya were considered to be wise sages of the rain forest who abhorred violence (turns out they readily engaged in human sacrifices all of the time), the Assyrians of Nineveh were considered to be a fantasy of the Bible and the city of Troy? - a figment of Homer's imagination. So, putting pinholes in orthodoxy has its place.

However, Hancock and Bauval lost me when they began to use Edgar Cayce's psychic readings from the 1930s and 1940s as a legitimate source. Star charts and weathering are legitimate sources. Not mediums. Come on!

To make it worse, Hancock and Bauval launch into an extended discourse on the movement of stars across the sky over the centuries (called procession). While this had a legitimate point, one that Hancock fleshes out even more in his book Heaven's Mirror, he goes on and on with it to the point where I couldn't hardly stand to listen to it any longer. The reader, Nick Ullett, did a superb job with the material he was asked to read, but there is no way that listening to nearly an hour of facts and figures about star charts and mathematical equations will be anything but mind-numbingly, eye-crossingly, stupifyingly boring. I listen to audiobooks to perk up my long daily commute. I actually had to turn off the relentless march of the equations just to stay awake! Hancock's points were made in the first 15 minutes - yet he continued on and on and on and on and on...

So, this is really two books - the first half is interesting and full of legitimate points. The second half is buttressed by facts from the mouth of a psychic and then becomes an endless lecture on procession that should have been edited.

I rate this audiobook 2 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: The Message of the Sphinx.

Reviewed on February 8, 2007.

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