PHANTOM ISLANDS of the Atlantic - The Legends of Seven Lands That Never Were

Reviewed by Maya Berezovsky

phantom.jpg (37738 bytes)Donald S. Johnson, in his newly published book, PHANTOM ISLANDS of the Atlantic, with the help of Avon Books, lets the readers share in the fruits of the imaginations of mariners over the years.

Take this into consideration. When the typical reader sits down to read a work of literature, which would the reader prefer—a book that merely recites facts about square miles, population, and average temperature of a place an explorer discovered? Or would it be more enjoyable to read a book about land that has beasts of all sorts, has so much fog that it is completely invisible, or has never even been visited or explored? In the book PHANTOM ISLANDS of the Atlantic, the reader is taken on a journey that is impossible using a compass and a boat. All that is needed is a comfortable chair and some time. Donald S. Johnson makes the readers part of his imagination that includes seven different islands, with descriptions of the many excitements that have occurred on the islands.

For example, a section of the book shares the tales of Isle of Demons. The island is full of horrible animals and evil spirits. Mariners who claim to have visited the Isle of Demons described the animals as: Big as a cow, white as a swan, and a beast big as an ox with two teeth in its mouth like an elephant, who lives in the sea. Although these mariners were describing a polar bear and a walrus, the words used are miraculously astounding. A woman who lived with her husband and baby on the Isle of Demons thought the report of evil spirits on the island was nothing more than a myth. She suffered much bad luck from not believing.

Another island described by Mr. Johnson is Hy-Brazil which supposedly is located on the West Coast of Ireland. Fog hides it from view except for every seven years when the fog lifts and sheep, fairies, and healers are seen. Also called Land of the Promise to be blessed by Christians, the land disappears under water every time anyone goes near it. Although many men have attempted to sail to this land, it has remained impossible.

With this book, the reader is able to figuratively climb into the imaginations of the many sailors who believe these tales to be true. Sure, it is possible to sail around the world seeing the sights of beautiful lands and people, but the only way to share in the majestic feeling received from this book, is by going to the bookstore and buying a copy. So what are you waiting for?

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