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Finding Atlantis
- Written by David King

Finding Atlantis
A True Story of Genius, Madness, and an Extraordinary Quest for a Lost World

What do Zeus, Apollo and the gods of Mount Olympus have in common with Odin, Thor, and the gods of Valhalla? What do these in turn have in common with the inhabitants of fabled lost civilization of Atlantis? In 1679, Olof Rudbeck stunned the world with his answer: they all came from his native Sweden. He would spend the last thirty years of his life on an adventurous hunt to prove this extraordinary theory.

Olof Rudbeck had first made his name as a physician. In fact, he discovered the lymphatic system as a teenager (and then became embroiled in a priority dispute with Thomas Bartholin). He had built an anatomy theater, founded a botanical garden, and harnessed the town river to power several machines in his factory. He was a painter, singer, composer, as well as an inventor, engineer, entrepreneur, and astronomer, who discovered a couple of comets using instruments he built himself.

All of this talent and experience was brought to the search for Atlantis in Sweden - and the result is a wild ride through history, mythology, and the world of lively imagination. The first volume of Atlantica, which detailed his findings, was 900 pages; the second volume was larger, and the third was even larger. By 1702, the still unfinished Atlantica had swelled to four and a half tomes filling some 2,500 pages of evidence for his increasingly ambitious history.

 

 


King tells his tale with the pace and appeal of a classic whodunit.

-Publishers Weekly



More Praise for
Finding Atlantis




By the end, Rudbeck challenged scholars to come to Sweden and prove him wrong; he would pay the expenses, he boasted. Indeed, for a time, some scholars credited Rudbeck with revolutionizing our understanding of the past. He was admired at the court of Louis XIV, proposed as a member of the Royal Society in London, and celebrated in cafés, salons, and academies across the cosmopolitan Republic of Letters. Avid readers were Leibniz, Montesquieu, and the famous skeptic Pierre Bayle. Even Sir Isaac Newton wrote to request a personal copy of Rudbeck's Atlantica.

Three hundred years later, Finding Atlantis tells the story in English for the first time (and the book has since been translated into several languages, most recently Swedish, Chinese, and Turkish). It is a thrilling tale of discovery and, at the same time, a dramatic illustration of the dangerous dance of genius and madness.


Like a physician dissecting in his anatomy theater, Olof Rudbeck cuts open a map of the modern world and reveals the secret history of Sweden. Homer, Plato, Aristotle, and many other well-known figures of antiquity sit around the dissection table like students. Plato strains to take a closer look, and Apollodorus slaps his head in surprise. Ptolemy, who is so often criticized by Rudbeck for faulty geography, looks away in disgust.


If you have never heard of Olof Rudbeck before you read David King's excellent Finding Atlantis, you'll never forget
him after.

- Jake Morrissey, author of
The Genius in the Design

Rudbeck's search may have faded into the mists of time if not for author David King, who discovered this weird and wonderful story that you won't soon forget.

- Book-of-the-Month Club

Restoring this colorful eccentric to life, King reveals his talent for narrative flow and portraiture in a biography that will thoroughly inveigle history readers.

- Booklist


Part of the charm of this book is that King allows the reader to traipse alongside Rudbeck as he uncovers what appear to be clues to support his bold theories.

- Edmonton Sun


By reviving Rudbeck’s forgotten career, King has told a fascinating tale that shines light on a unique aspect of the relationship between scholarship and nationalism.

- Choice

An entertaining piece that historians and non-historians alike will find engrossing and consistently enlightening.

- Bowling Green Daily News


Wholly captivating portrait of a man obsessed.

- Ottawa XPress

King tells his tale with the pace and
appeal of a classic whodunit.

- Publishers Weekly

Exciting and well-written.

- Internationalen

An engaging work of scholarly detection honoring a wacky hero.

- Kirkus

A lively and good story about a time, a man and his fixed idea.

- Dagbladet

Both timely and exciting reading.

- Forskning