Rise and Fall of Ancient Civilization

By Richmond, Dick | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), March 23, 1997 | Go to article overview
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Rise and Fall of Ancient Civilization


Richmond, Dick, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


"PEOPLE OF THE SILENCE"

A novel by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear (5 hours, 45 minutes, abridged, Soundelux Audio, $19.95)

This is the eighth novel in a series by the husband-and-wife archaeological team. Each novel has dealt with the pre-history of the land that we now call the United States. This one probes the world of the Anasazi (the ancient ones), a people who reached their zenith around A.D. 1150. The Anasazi lived in the Four Corners region of the Southwest, the area where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet. It contains perhaps the United States' most impressive Native American archaeological treasures, compared by some to Egypt's Valley of the Kings. Since the authors base their novels on known data, derived from what was left behind, much of what they are writing about is part fact and part assumption based on those facts. Perhaps just as important is the implied empathy of the authors to their subjects - that of scholar and field worker who have created a link, if only intellectually, between the now and the then. With such incredible sites as the Manitou cliff dwellings near Colorado Springs and those at Mesa Verde, Colo., it's easy to understand how such a link could be imagined. The Gears' tale involves a civilization based on pure survival. One in which the culture advanced enough over a millennium to enable it to have the luxury of astronomers, architects, traders and master roadbuilders. Then, when it was at its apex, the culture's entire structure appears to have suddenly collapsed from within. Hard evidence aside, the bulk of the tale is based on a universal path - the knowledge that human beings, steeped in a rigid religious tradition, will somehow corrupt that legacy to satisfy their own needs, as they do in this story. For those personalities, religion is a tool to justify not only the end result but the means to that end. That may very well be why the Anasazi vanished. Especially enjoyable is the author interview at the conclusion of this production, in which the Gears discuss how they came to write the series. Soundelux Audios may be found in bookstores or ordered by calling (800) 277-2020. "THE SOUL'S CODE: IN SEARCH OF CHARACTER AND CALLING" By James Hillman (3 hours, abridged, Random House Audiobooks, $18) Unlike a lot of philosophers, the author, one of America's leading Jungian theorists, regards the soul in tangible terms, comparing it to an acorn that grows up and outward while at the same time taking root and digging in and downward. These psychological theories of self have a familiar ring when compared to some aspects of the ideas of neo-reincarnationists, especially when he discusses such remarkable talents as Mozart, Judy Garland and Josephine Baker.

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