Title: Advanced Civilizations of Prehistoric America: The Lost Kingdoms of the Adena, Hopewell, Mississippians, and Anasazi
Author(s): Frank Joseph
Published 2009 by Bear & Company
ISBN: 1591431077
ISBN-13: 978-1591431077
Paperback, 296 pages
List: $18.00
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Reviewer: Mike Gleason

Some folks, seeing the words "Advanced Civilizations" will immediately have visions of futuristic societies or "Atlantean crystals." Sorry, but that isn't what this book is all about. What we have here is an examination of four Native American cultures about which the experts can only agree to disagree.

Personally, I had heard about three of the four cultures, never having encountered the Adena in my previous readings or experience. One of the major similarities between them is the fact that each disappeared for no apparent reason.

Mr. Joseph is the editor in chief of Ancient American magazine and has spent years examining evidence (and hints) of pre-Colombian civilizations in the Americas. Does that make him an expert? That depends on who you ask. Does it make him a well-informed amateur sleuth? There's no doubt that the answer to this is an unqualified "yes."

He offers some speculation, when the evidence is there to provide support. Where such evidence is lacking, he reports what is available without drawing any firm conclusions. He proposes one or more hypotheses and shows the possible conclusions, and then leaves it to the reader to decide which, if any, to favor.

Whether or not you agree with the conclusions Mr. Joseph reaches (I'm still undecided, personally), the evidence is compelling and presented in a way which is informative and engaging. It is not a dry, boring academic work. Nor is it New Age-y pandering (although the publisher classifies it as (Ancient Mysteries/New Age).

Mr. Joseph presents a number of the more recent discoveries in the field, both in North and South America. The sources cited include not only writers for Ancient American but also Science magazine and researchers for the Smithsonian Institution, so this isn't all fringe- science.

Read it and decide for yourself is Mr. Joseph's conclusions hold up. If nothing else, it will help you learn to think outside the box.

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