This book completetly changes the established and conventional view of prehistory by relocating the Lost Eden--the world's first civilisation--to Southeast Asia. At the end of the Ice Age, Southeast Asia formed a continent twice the size of India, which included Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Borneo. In Eden in the East, Stephen Oppenheimer puts forward the astonishing argument that here in southeast Asia--rather than in Mesopotamia where it is usually placed--was the lost civilization that fertilized the Great cultures of the Middle East 6,000 years ago. He produces evidence from ethnography, archaeology, oceanography, creation stories, myths, linguistics, and DNA analysis to argue that this founding civilization was destroyed by a catastrophic flood, caused by a rapid rise in the sea level at the end of the last ice age.
Oppenheimer presents an astonishing array of evidence - historic, linguistic and genetic - in support of his claim. He also lends strong support to the now orthodox position that Polynesian migrations took place from west to east, not vice versa as claimed by Thor Heyerdahl.