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Uncharted cover art

Uncharted

By: Tim Wallace-Murphy,James Martin
Narrated by: Nigel Patterson
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Summary

The Americas have had native groups living there for more than ten thousand years, but Columbus was surely not their first visitors. Uncharted covers a range of cultures who seemingly have been visiting the Americas since long before Columbus. Evidence is explored of potential Roman and Phoenician shipwrecks off the coast of South America through to Celtic and Norse exploration of Northern America. Put simply, the history of the discovery of the North America is all wrong. How did the Knights Templar influence the discovery of the new world? What do the Sinclair family, Rosslyn chapel, and two venetian brothers have to do with the discovery of a new continent? How did the Vikings navigate their way? With source materials dating back through millennia, including very recent finds, this book will induce you to thought about a side of history still so readily dismissed by some.

Uncharted tackles the evidence and stories of visiting distant lands that abound from many cultures, such the Egyptian, Greeks, Celts, Vikings, as well as various people from Asia; and one large Chinese group likely settled in the Americas in 100 BC, which current DNA evidence supports. Columbus should be remembered, but remembered for the conquering tyrant he was. These other groups did not come to conquer, but to trade, explore, and escape.

©2023 Tim Wallace-Murphy and James Martin (P)2023 Tantor

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A great listen

Really enjoyed listening to this book, many times over in fact, just to grasp half of the information contained within. Well researched, and packed with information, but never dry. It’s delivered in a digestible way, even if I did have to listen several times over to fully ingest. Interesting and insightful.

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Flawed

I am sure that the thesis of the authors is fundamentally correct: that both Asians and Europeans visited, and possibly settled, in the Americas before Columbus. I think there is enough circumstantial and material evidence for this. However, the authors choose to devote a lot of time to the least likely such visitation - that of Sir Henry Sinclair.

Alarm bells rang for me almost immediately when, in the first few lines of the introduction, the authors cited Gavin Menzies. Now, I am all for presenting unusual propositions regarding history but if the authors intend to be taken seriously they should also discuss the problems with the sources they are relying on. For example, they refer to Nicholas of Lynn(e)'s alleged visit to North America without informing the listener that there is actually no evidence that Nicholas even left England, never mind went to America. They go on to rely almost exclusively on the Zeno Narrative for Sinclair, despite serious misgivings on the subject, i.e. that the Zeno brothers can be shown to have been elsewhere during the alleged voyages to Orkney/Shetland/North America and indeed that the Zeno letters are fakes perpetrated by another Zeno some time after Columbus' voyage to America. If the authors addressed these issues and put forward their views as to why they do not agree with them I think I would have been able to take them more seriously.

Another issue I have with the authors is their rather quaint view of Native Americans. Whatever the actual social conditions and beliefs of the Micmac (which I am not familiar with), extending this pre-lapsarian condition to "all Native Americans" shows ignorance of the bloody and imperialistic nature of many tribes and confederations of tribes.

In the end the book seems to be a kind of cheerleading for the Sinclair family, despite the fact that the mainstay of the evidence - the Zeno narrative - is, to put it mildly, questionable. On the other hand, as always with Nigel Patterson, it is well read.

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