Pre-Columbian America: Myths and Legends
Donald A. Mackenzie.
Senate/Random House: 1923/1996.
This book was originally written when scholars were gravitating to the theory that America remained completely isolated until Columbus. MacKenzie doesn’t believe this and attempts to disprove the theory by a comparison of American myths to those of Egypt, India, and Asia.
There are two major flaws to the book. First, I’m reading it 80 years late, and a lot of new information has come to light. Second, his writing style is lacking in proper structure which makes his rambling, unorganized thesis hard to follow sometimes. The main theoretical problem is lack of dating — when did the Indian my of such-and-such arise vs. the first appearance in America? Whas there time for transference of ideas? Are the ideas separated by many centuries?
The book does a good job in bringing to light how much you need to assume is a natural psychological process for two cultures to develop similar ideas if they don’t have any contact, e.g., why would Egyptians, Chinese and Aztecs associate colors with four cardinal points? Overall, the book is persuasive that there was at least some sort of contact between Old and New Worlds.