Book Review: Chariots of the Gods?

Chariots Of The Gods? Was God an Astronaut? by Erich von Däniken.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

I first read Chariots of The Gods when I was twenty, and recall how much I enjoyed it. At the time, I felt it had opened my eyes to some amazing possibilities. I’m a very different person today, with a university education, and a mind that no longer accepts everything I read. While I did enjoy the book the second time around, I found myself questioning the credibility of what I was reading.

The book asks questions we have all wondered about, including whether there are other intelligent beings in the cosmos, whether God was an astronaut, and whether ancient marvels such as the great pyramids or the Nazca lines were actually space travel centres.

I was particularly intrigued by some of the photographs of cave art from Italy, Russia, Uzbekistan, and the Sahara, and how the examples appear to depict people wearing space suits and helmets. Were these drawings simply the product of fertile imaginations and legends, or were they representations of what these ancient people actually saw?

One aspect of the book I found quaint was how quickly Däniken expected science, technology, and space exploration to progress. Chariots of The Gods was first published in 1968, and contains a bold claim that “in about twelve years the first men will land on Mars”. There is also a paragraph describing the possibility of computer technology that can “give its answer in fractions of a second”, “whenever and from wherever the computer was interrogated”.

Däniken’s books are undoubtedly popular, but they are now widely recognised as pseudo-scientific, and many of his ideas and hypotheses have been robustly challenged over the years. Having said that, it is interesting and entertaining to suspend disbelief, and wonder if he might be right.

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in whether we are alone in the universe.

View all my reviews.

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