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Stargazers and Gravediggers

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Stargazers and Gravediggers, book cover
Publishing details
Author:Immanuel Velikovsky
Title:Stargazers and Gravediggers
Subtitle:Memoirs to Worlds in Collision
Publ. date:1983
PublisherWilliam Morrow and Company
AvailabilityFrom the SIS
ISBNISBN 0-688-01545-X
LIC No:82-14463
Books by Velikovsky

Immanuel Velikovsky bibliography

Stargazers and Gravediggers -- Memoirs to Worlds in Collision is Velikovsky's own account of the controversy surrounding the publication of his first book, Worlds in Collision.[1] The book's Introduction by Eric Larrabee (who wrote one of the first reviews of Worlds in Collision for Harpers Magazine), states:

"... when this book was being written, more than a quarter century ago, some of us who read the manuscript believed the author should not complete or publish it. There were questions of confidentiality in a number of the documents quoted and of dignity and appropriateness in responding to criticism which was not at a high level of intellectual discourse. Those who knew Velikovsky appreciated that he had enough work ahead of him as it was without his turning aside to answer people who had so clearly taken leave of their better selves. The readers of the pages that follow will find described (and accurately, as I can testify) a response to Velikovsky's books which, had it not come from distinguished figures in various fields of science and scholarship, would have been unworthy of serious attention. Readers too young to remember will find their credulity strained, but it happened."[2]

Contents

Review

In his review, then Associate Professor of History at Youngstown State University, Joseph May writes:

"Velikovsky answers a hundred questions and raises a hundred more, leaving the reader thirsting for more information. Among the gains contributed by this work are a clearer picture of the steps leading to the formulation of Velikovsky's bold hypotheses, the way they came to be presented, the precise nature of the reaction to them during the 1950's, and finally, the author's own response to the controversy he created. [..]
"Realistically, one has to admit that what the reader makes of these memoirs will depend largely on his own reactions to Velikovsky's synthesis. One must have read at least Worlds in Collision to appreciate the nuances of this work. If one has done so, there is here ample meat to set the jaws of friend and foe alike to chewing. The perceptions of Velikovsky, some rather surprising, and those of his opponents as well, come through these pages in a way that clarifies the motives and actions of both."
"Some of Velikovsky's attitudes will startle even sympathetic readers [..] Other of his views will jar, or perhaps amuse [..] There are also passages which might lead some to conclude that Velikovsky had a gigantic sense of self-importance, bordering on egotism. [..] Velikovsky sometimes commits minor lapses that annoy scholars [..] On the more positive side, Velikovsky constructs a most interesting technique, that runs throughout the book, of confronting criticism. Without comment or drawing the obvious conclusions, he presents quotations from the writings of adversaries or those authorities cited adversely that are strikingly inconsistent with the thrust of their particular points of criticism."
"By no means does all this mean that the book is perfect, as a memoir, as an account of events, or even as an apologia. There is much detail one wishes were included and some that could have been omitted without loss. [..] Still, the value of Stargazers and Gravediggers exceeds the shortcomings. It illuminates and actually entertains while doing so. It is the first book that reveals the author's sense of humor. It is a delight to readers and a sourcebook for historians."[3]

Contents

Introduction by Eric Larrabee 13

FILE I

  • Freud and His Heroes 27
  • Ages in Chaos 32
  • Worlds in Collision 38
  • The Long Way 45
  • At Mademoiselle 47
  • One Who Read and One Who Didn't 50
  • John J. O'Neill 58
  • In Search of A Publisher 61
  • A Manuscript Becomes A Book 64
  • "The Day the Sun Stood Still" 68
  • Damned to Fame 72
  • Writing the Epilogue 76
  • "Waving the Red Flag" 80
  • Censors Appointed 86
  • It is Hard to Quarrel with Numbers" 91
  • "Somebody Has Done You Dirt" 96
  • "Following the Precedent of One Galileo" 102
  • Misled by Laplace 106
  • "How You Misjudge Me" 108
  • The Book is Launched, atwater Thrown Overboard 113
  • "Copernicus? Who is He?" 117
  • Are the Venus Tablets Missing? 121
  • A Fly and A Raisin 126

FILE II

  • "Without A Precedent" 131
  • Changing Horses in Midstream 136
  • A Second Man Thrown Overboard 138
  • "An Immense Cosmic Collision" 143
  • "I Am One of Those Who Participated" 145
  • "A Very Genuine Responsibility" 147
  • "Professors As Suppressors" 151
  • The Threat 153
  • The Harvard Crimson Blushes 158
  • Quartered At Yale 162
  • The Third Degree 169
  • An Authority Called to Witness 173
  • "I Am Passionately Devoted to the Principle of Freedom of Thought" 176
  • "With Hatbrims Pulled Down" 179
  • "A Silly Season" 181
  • "The Great Peril of Our Age" 185
  • Censors, Peers, and Ghostwriters 187
  • The Ocean Enters the Debate 192
  • The Astronomer Royal 195
  • A Reviewer At the Stake 199
  • "The Orthodoxies Are Interests" 203
  • Science Versus Common Sense 205
  • A Man of Strife 209
  • A Skyscraper and A Sparrow 213
  • The AAAS is Alerted to Act 221
  • "Afraid to Think" 230
  • A Lawyer's Advice 232
  • A Client of No Importance 235
  • More Than A Fan Letter 237
  • De Profundis 239

FILE III

  • Pursuing A Ray of Light 243
  • Elevated to Unorthodoxy: the American Philosophical Society 246
  • "We Are Shaking in Our Shoes" 250
  • "Sit Down Before A Fact As A Little Child" 255
  • "Let Them Throw the Brick" 259
  • A Letter From An Egyptologist 263
  • A Boy From Texas 265
  • The "Herculean Labor" of Cecilia Gaposchkin 268
  • "Examine All the Evidence Yourself At First Hand" 277
  • Can One Burn At Two Stakes? 280
  • "Nearer the Gods No Mortal May Approach" 283
  • Before the Chair of Jupiter 287
  • Evenings with Einstein 289
  • Jove's Thunderbolts 293
  • In Kepler's Company 296
  • Earth in Upheaval 304
  • Physicist, Historian, and Critic Converse 307
  • Master of Innuendo 311
  • Master of Fleldwork: Come See for Yourself 318
  • Mona Lisa and the Antarctic 323
  • Only A Stone's Throw From Macmillan 327
  • I Clear My Desk 330

Epilogue 332

Index 339

Notes

  1. Immanuel Velikovsky, Stargazers and Gravediggers, William Morrow & Co; 1st edition (March 1983), ISBN 068801545X, ISBN 978-0688015459 (Available from the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies)
  2. Eric Larrabee, "Introduction ", in Immanuel Velikovsky, Stargazers and Gravediggers -- Memoirs to Worlds in Collision, 1983, William Morrow and Company, Inc, New York, ISBN: 0-688-01545-X
  3. Joseph May, Stargazers & Gravediggers, by Immanuel Velikovsky", Kronos Vol. IX No. 2 (Winter 1984)

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