The Book of Earths
by Edna Kenton
This is a compendium of theories of the shape of the Earth, along with a great deal of 'Earth Mystery' lore. Richly illustrated, the Book of Earths includes many unusual theories, including Columbus' idea that the Earth is literally pear-shaped, modern theories that the Earth was originally tetrahedral, and so on. Kenton also covers many traditional theories including the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians, Hindu and Buddhist cosmology, and those of the Peruvians, Aztecs and Mongols. She also discusses modern alternative theories such as that of Reed and Koresh. Strangely enough, she misses or ignores the modern flat earth theory of Rowbotham. This is the only apparent omission in this definitive study.
Kenton has no apparent axe to grind: this is simply a very readable survey of the literature. If you have any interest in 'Earth mysteries', this book is a must-read.
Production notes: The book has no explicit chapter separations. I added chapter names based on the table of contents and page headers. The illustrations have been scanned from a first edition of the book; even still, please understand that the quality of some of the plates were marginal, and I've used image processing to enhance the worst ones. In addition, I've added alternate, high resolution, scans of plates 25 and 28, from the source book, Waddell's Tibetan Buddhism. Note that the plates in the Kessinger reprint ended up almost illegible (but all other illustrations turned out okay). If you want to acquire a copy of this book with better plates, search a good used book site like ABEbooks; original editions of this book are not particularly rare, or expensive.
--John Bruno Hare, 7/11/2005
After I posted this, Johh Mark Ockerblook of the Online Books page pointed out that this was actually renewed in a timely fashion. However, I've decided to leave this online because it appears that the copyright has been orphaned. If you want to comment on this, please write us.