|Apocalypse 2012: A
Scientific Investigation into Civilization's End (Hardcover)
by Lawrence E. Joseph
From Publishers Weekly
In New Age circles, the idea that some sort of world-spanning cataclysmic
event will take place in December 2012 has been gaining traction for years,
thanks largely to the calculations of ancient Mayan astronomers who pegged
that moment as the end of a cycle of eons. Joseph uses that prophecy as a
starting point, but claims that his interest lies in more substantial scientific
threats to the planet—including cracks in Earth's magnetic field, the eruption
of supervolcanoes and flareups of sunspot radiation. On the other hand, he
also gives credence to planetary alignments and The Bible Code before
veering into a rant about how the real problem is Christian fundamentalists
who want to manipulate the Middle East into Armageddon. When he sticks to
science journalism, Joseph is a lively tour guide, introducing readers to
Mayan shamans and Russian scientists with equal aplomb. But when he encourages
readers to start praying they survive the coming apocalypse, he comes off
as exactly the sort of crackpot he claims to eschew. Still, there's less
kookery than in other 2012 books, making Joseph a reasonably straightforward
guide to the theory. (Jan. 23)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
All rights reserved.
It won’t help. You can’t get out of the way, you can’t dig a hole deep enough
to hide. The end is coming, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
So why read this book?
Because you can’t look away when not just the religious fanatics are saying
we’re all going to be destroyed but the scientists are in on the act too.
Here’s what they’re saying:
We’re a million years over due for a mass extinction.
The sun at radiation minimum is acting much worse than at solar maximum, and
one misdirected spewing of plasma could fry us in an instant.
The magnetic field—which shields us from harmful radiation—is developing
a mysterious crack.
Our solar system is entering an energetically hostile part of the galaxy.
The Yellowstone supervolcano is getting ready to blow, and if it does, we
can look forward to nuclear winter and 90 percent annihilation.
The Maya, the world’s greatest timekeepers ever, say it’s all going to stop
on December 21, 2012.
So, see? There’s nothing you can do, but you might as well sit back and enjoy
You’ll get a good chuckle.
That’s why you should read this book.
If there were a chance that opening this book could set off a chain of events
that would lead to Apocalypse, to the end of Life as we know it, would you
be tempted? Finger poised uncertainly above the flashing red button? How
about if the Apocalypse promised to result in a new age of enlightenment,
a Heaven on Earth like never before?
Personally, I’ll take the security of my cozy life over a chance at nirvana.
But status quo may no longer be an option, for any of us. This book will convince
you that there is a nonnegligible chance that the year 2012 will be more
tumultuous, catastrophic, and, quite possibly, revelatory, than any other
year in human history.
Parts of this book are best read with a bowl of popcorn: looking into the
jaws of a great white shark in search of the meaning of death; touring a
picturesque Guatemalan town with Mayan shaman just weeks before it is utterly
destroyed. Other sections go better with a tranquilizer, such as the impending
eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano, or the mass extinction headed our
way—on the scale of the great collision that destroyed the dinosaurs and
70 percent of all other species, our best scientists contend that it’s now
overdue. Nail-biters should beware the fact that the next peak in the sunspot
cycle, due in 2012, is widely expected to set records for the number and
intensity of solar storms pummeling the Earth with radiation and igniting
natural calamities such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and Katrina-sized hurricanes.
And that our entire solar system appears to be moving into a dangerous interstellar
Is it a coincidence that the burgeoning war between Christianity and Islam
seems hell-bent for Armageddon? Or that numerous other religions, philosophies,
and cultural traditions are signaling that the end is near, with 2012 emerging
as the consensus target date? A new era is about to be born, with all the
pain and blood and joy and release that birth naturally entails.
Facing oblivion, or at least mega-metamorphosis, is something that few of
us are emotionally prepared to do. Thus my excuse for the gallows humor that
pervades this story. In a memorable Mary Tyler Moore episode, Mary cracks
up laughing at the funeral of Chuckles the Clown who, dressed as a peanut
while marching in a parade, was shucked to death by an elephant. If Mary
can giggle in the face of death, so can we.
With kind regards,
Lawrence E. Joseph