The Discovery of Middle Earth

The Discovery of Middle Earth : Mapping the Lost World of the Celts

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Fifty generations ago the cultural empire of the Celts stretched from the Black Sea to Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland. In six hundred years, the Celts had produced some of the finest artistic and scientific masterpieces of the ancient world. In 58 BC, Julius Caesar marched over the Alps, bringing slavery and genocide to western Europe. Within eight years the Celts of what is now France were utterly annihilated, and in another hundred years the Romans had overrun Britain. It is astonishing how little remains of this great civilization. While planning a bicycling trip along the Heraklean Way, the ancient route from Portugal to the Alps, Graham Robb discovered a door to that forgotten world-a beautiful and precise pattern of towns and holy places based on astronomical and geometrical measurements: this was the three-dimensional "Middle Earth" of the Celts. As coordinates and coincidences revealed themselves across the continent, a map of the Celtic world emerged as a miraculously preserved archival document. Robb-"one of the more unusual and appealing historians currently striding the planet" (New York Times)-here reveals the ancient secrets of the Celts, demonstrates the lasting influence of Druid science, and recharts the exploration of the world and the spread of Christianity. A pioneering history grounded in a real-life historical treasure hunt, The Discovery of Middle Earth offers nothing less than an entirely new understanding of the birth of modern Europe.

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  • Hardback | 416 pages
  • 162 x 236 x 34mm | 679.99g
  • WW Norton & Co
  • New YorkUnited States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations, maps
  • 039308163X
  • 9780393081633
  • 402,931

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"Presenting one of the most astonishing, significant discoveries in recent memory, Robb, winner of the Duff Cooper Prize and Ondaatje Award for The Discovery of France, upends nearly everything we believe about the history-or, as he calls it, 'protohistory'-of early Europe and its barbarous Celtic tribes and semimythical Druids... Like the vast and intricate geographical latticework that Robb has uncovered, the book unfurls its secrets in an eerie, magnificent way-a remarkable, mesmerizing, and bottomless work." "[A] daring theory... thrilling." -- Laura Miller "Upends nearly everything we believe about the history... of early Europe." -- Gabe Habash "Combines travelogue and historical detective story... The work of a man to whom the past is vividly present." -- Ian Morris "Fascinating...The historical value of Robb's vivid portrait of Celtic culture is unquestionable." -- Wendy Smith "Raises intriguing questions about the relationship between tribe and empire, local identity and larger superstructure." -- Rachel Donadio

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About Graham Robb

Graham Robb is the author of three prize-winning biographies, each one selected as New York Times Best Books. His most recent works, The Discovery of France and Parisians, have earned several awards and much acclaim between them. He lives on the Anglo-Scottish border.

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