Worlds in Collision

by Immanuel Velikovsky

Paperback, 1977



Call number

QB603 .V4


Pocket Books (1977), Edition: 1st, 389 pages


With this book Immanuel Velikovsky first presented the revolutionary results of his 10-year-long interdisciplinary research to the public, founded modern catastrophism - based on eyewitness reports by our ancestors - shook the doctrine of uniformity of geology as well as Darwin's theory of evolution, put our view of the history of our solar system, of the Earth and of humanity on a completely new basis - and caused an uproar that is still going on today. Worlds in Collision - written in a brilliant, easily understandable and entertaining style and full to the brim with precise information - can be considered one of the most important and most challenging books in the history of science. Not without reason was this book found open on Einstein's desk after his death. For all those who have ever wondered about the evolution of the earth, the history of mankind, traditions, religions, mythology or just the world as it is today, Worlds in Collision is an absolute MUST-READ… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member tuckerresearch
A classic piece of what I call "speculative history." It might not be true, in fact, who the hell REALLY believes that Venus was a comet that got spit out of Jupiter? But it is necessary for science and history to be shaken up from time to time with unconventional theories compotently written and
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LibraryThing member nbmars
First published in 1950, this book posits that "two series of cosmic catastrophes took place in historical times, thirty-four and twenty-six centuries ago, and thus only a short time ago not peace but war reigned in the solar system." Velikovsky adduces geologic and archeological evidence, as well
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as testimony from a variety of ancient documents usually taken as metaphorical, including the Old Testament. The similarity of motifs and observations in these documents which come from all five continents at roughly the same time cannot be explained by chance, he asserts. Velikovsky bemoans the fact that "traditions about upheavals and catastrophes, found among all peoples, are generally discredited because of the shortsighted belief that no forces could have shaped the world in the past that are not at work also at the present time..." He proposes that "[p]rior to the last series of cataclysms ... the globe spun on an axis pointed in a different direction in space, with its poles at a different location, on a different orbit..." The cataclysms, he suggests, were caused by close encounters between the Earth and Venus and Mars, Venus having started its celestial life as a comet sprung from Jupiter. His theories may sound outragous, but it is worth reading his carefully researched evidence, both historical and geological, for these conclusions.

My husband has what I assume is the typical rationalist's reaction of dismissal for Velikovsky's theories, feeling that such a book isn't even worth reading to see what his arguments are because they could only be ridiculous. Unfortunately, this attitude is identical to that held by most scientists since Velikovsky's time (with the notable exception of Einstein).

On the contrary, I think his evidence - especially that of the physical variety - is overwhelming and should be considered. In any event, it is an exciting and thought-provoking book.

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LibraryThing member keylawk
To be fair, this work was first published in 1950. In spite of the name-calling, we ARE still slightly mystified about the relationship between Hydrocarbon and Carbohydrate, if any. It does not help to accuse Dr V of "scientism".
LibraryThing member nwdavies
Not the easiest read ever but fascinating. I think his reasoning is, at times, seriously flawed and he hasn't convinced me but he puts up a good argument with lots of evidence from ancient writings, if you take them literally. Very interesting and does make you think if nothing else.
LibraryThing member tuckerresearch
A classic piece of what I call "speculative history." It might not be true, in fact, who the hell REALLY believes that Venus was a comet that got spit out of Jupiter? But it is necessary for science and history to be shaken up from time to time with unconventional theories compotently written and
Show More
Show Less
LibraryThing member sockatume
I have read many classics of Fortean literature that turned out to be anthropologically intriguing, entertainingly written or simply striking historical objects. This is not one of them and I regret bothering to pull it down from my shelf.

The scholarship is atrocious. Velikovsky rarely builds an
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argument by strict reason, preferring instead to state his interpretation then beat the reader in to submission with page upon page of quotes from historical sources that he feels support it. What constitutes evidence varies: sometimes a close apparent synchronicity in time and event, but more often than not a superficial similarity of incident or general closeness in era. Metaphorical texts may be read as literal and vice versa if it suits the author's purpose. The cataclysms proposed are justified by the interpretation of the examples, while the interpretation of the examples is made in the context of the same supposed cataclysms; and down the drain of circular reasoning the book goes for page after endless page. (Velikovsky only briefly discusses the scholarly merits of his interpretative approach around page 300. I imagine he did not want the reader to look at it too closely.)

The sources cited are seldom from within two decades of the book's publication which is a particular issue for Velikovsky's scientific arguments, which supposedly ground the whole endeavour. (One cannot make points about astronomy in 1950 based on the state of the science in 1800-1930.) The author casually treats planets and comets as similar entities (except where his argument requires them to be wholly distinct classes of objects) in a manner that suggests a disinterest in this side of his own case. The coup de grace comes in the desperate Epilogue, where Velikovsky argues that we must make way for a new astronomy on the basis of these historical cataclysms, although the idea that the cataclysms themselves occurred depends entirely on those selfsame astronomical ideas. This is a book that is constantly trying to lift itself up by its own bootstraps.

This was ostensibly a deeply controversial book in the 1970s (when my copy was printed and at which point most of its sources were four decades or more out of date). Its popular appeal had led me to assume it must at least have some drive or scholarly strength despite its ultimately wrongheaded conclusions. Instead it somehow manages to be as tedious as it is fatuous.
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LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
Given the premise of planetary collisions, Immanuel Velikovsky tries to establish the date when Venus, ejected from Jupiter, narrowly missed colliding with the Earth. He works with literary and geological evidence available in the 1940's. It is a sensational and controversial work, chiefly useful
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for reminding scientists and the general public, that never embrace the idea that the knowledge in a given field is fixed and will not be subject to revision. By and large the book itself contains little of value, yet it inspired a great deal of education of the general public by more respectable and insightful scientists, in the 1950's and 1960's as Mr. Velikovsky continued his writing career.
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Original publication date


Physical description

389 p.; 6.8 inches


067181091X / 9780671810917


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