Thorwald C. Franke
on Nov. 18, 2013 :
This is how an Atlantis theory has to look like!
The author is well aware of academia's judgement of Atlantis as one of Plato's myths and the reasons for this judgement, but at the same time he knows that this opinion comes along with difficulties: The usage of such a "literary device" would be unusual in Plato's time; the comparison with the "allegory of the cave" does not work, since Plato never claimed this cave to be real; similarly, the Atlantis story is not a myth about the afterlife as other Platonic myths but a story placed within the real world; then, academia's claim that Aristotle considered Atlantis to be Plato's invention is plain and simply wrong (Franke: Aristotle and Atlantis, 2012); and the Critias in the dialogue is not Critias the tyrant, etc. Therefore, "you cannot rationalize away the possibility that [Plato] knew of an existing story that suited his purpose, and decided to use it to make his philosophical points."
Thus, the search is not vain right from the beginning, and the author is clearly aware of the right method: To reconstruct the original Atlantis story backwards from its today known distorted traditional version: "One of the strengths of this particular theory is if it is correct you can see why the people who passed on the story may have changed it."
So, a sophisticated theory is developed, which assumes the city of Atlantis to be a place in Britain, and the Atlanteans to be the bell beaker culture, possibly attacking the Mediterranean region including Egypt around 2100 BC. Indeed, signs of natural catastrophes and warfare can be found in this time at the right places. - The author does not forget to point out open questions.
The main flaw of this book is that it is too short. In many aspects the author has chosen the right approach to solve the problems concerning Plato's Atlantis. Only that the chosen path was often not traveled to its very end in order to find a proven solution - or, maybe, a dead end. But not a problem: The reader finds plenty opportunities to learn something for his own thinking and researching, and what more do notoriously skeptical readers of Atlantis theories expect?
(reviewed the day of purchase)