An intricately researched and beautifully illustrated book, And did those feet by Michael Goldsworthy takes as it’s driving force the poet William Blake’s words, made famous in Parry’s anthem Jerusalem. Did Jesus’ feet indeed walk on England’s green and pleasant land? And if he did once dwell here, what might he have left behind to be found in the future?
The author, in his own words, “attempts to elucidate the relationships between certain established fabricated commonly held beliefs,” tying together ley lines, Arthurian legend, Biblical prophecy and even the Turin Shroud—plus the English Christmas carol “I saw three ships” which I always used to wonder about. His statistical and geometrical analyses leave me wanting more detail, but that probably says more about my background than the author’s book. Ancient documents are transcribed, transliterated and translated in extraordinary detail, and any reader curious about how truth turns into myth and legend should find a wealth of understanding here. Authors in search of material for the next Da Vinci Code should be delighted by this author’s carefully analyzed and well-presented research. And curious seekers of the Holy Grail, following the footsteps of saints and angels, will find much to enjoy.
Proposing intriguing answers to such questions as “What is the Grail and who does it serve?” or “What is Time?”, bringing together Joseph of Arimathea, the history of tin-mining in Devon and Cornwall, and the angles of Egyptian pyramids, including a fascinating analysis of the science and archeology behind the Turin Shroud, and showing an honest willingness to reject as myth that which can’t withstand his research, the author provides invaluable insights into the way arguments are developed and critiqued, and the way historical truth can be sought for and discovered.
I particularly enjoyed the tin-mining research, the analysis of translation and mistranslation of documents, and the insights into medieval church politics (worthy of Pillars of the Earth). The language is sometimes odd with complex sentence structures complementing complex analysis, and the book is a slow heavy read. But the illustrations are beautifully chosen and presented, and the text provides a great resource for ideas, even for readers who might end up disagreeing with the author’s conclusions.
I'd love to see the print version of this book with its sumptuous images, but, for the sake of price, I probably recommend the e-version. Even on my elderly kindle the pictures were all pretty clear.
Disclosure: I received an ecopy from the author and promised an honest review. I’m just sorry it took so long to get to it.