Eric H. Cline
The Year Civilization Collapsed
Princeton University Press 2014
It quickly sold out in hardback, and then, within a matter of days, sold out in paperback. Available again as a 2nd edition hardback, and soon in the 10th edition paperback with a new Afterword by the author, Eric H. Cline‘s 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Princeton University Press, 2015) is THE must have, must read book of 2014, and 2015. Why? Because it’s serious archaeology, history and anthropology, but it reads like a mystery novel. The prose is superb; so good that it’s hard to put down. Homer wrote about the Age of Olympians: Zeus and Apollo, Odysseus, Achilles and Hector. Cline writes about the Minoans and Mycenaeans, the Trojans and the Egyptians, Hittites and Babylonians. And both epics, one mythology and one history, are about the same extraordinary time.
Cline recreates the late Bronze Age in fascinating detail and then describes its utter and complete destruction. City after city, empire after empire, civilization after civilization: annihilated to extinction, one right after another, and in a shockingly short amount of time. What caused a catastrophe so extreme that the First Dark Age descended over the world: a mysterious invading culture–the Sea People, plague and pestilence, earthquake, climate change, all of the above? 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed discusses each possibility in turn. A great interview with a world-class researcher–it easily could have gone for three-hours.