Saturday, 29 December 2012

A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong - Book Review

Title: A Short History of Myth
Author: Karen Armstrong
Publisher: Canongate
Publication Date: 2006 (2005)  
Pages: 155 
Format: Paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: Xmas Gift

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"Human beings have always been mythmakers." So begins Karen Armstrong's concise yet compelling investigation into myth: what it is, how it has evolved, and why we still so desperately need it. She takes us from the Paleolithic period and the myths of the hunters right up to the "Great Western Transformation" of the last five hundred years and the discrediting of myth by science. The history of myth is the history of humanity, our stories and beliefs, our curiosity and attempts to understand the world, which link us to our ancestors and each other. Myths help us make sense of the universe. Heralding a major series of retellings of international myths by authors from around the world, Armstrong's characteristically insightful and eloquent book serves as a brilliant and thought-provoking introduction to myth in the broadest sense -- and explains why if we dismiss it, we do so at our peril. (Goodreads Synopsis)

This book was a big disappointment for me. Since I have a strong interest in folklore and mythology, I thought this would be an interesting read, but in the end I found it dull and pointless.

Many claims made were unsubstantiated, sweeping statements, relying on secondary sources, and I couldn't see the reason for the piece. I had expected more a history of myth in different cultures and less of a lecture.

This book was a big let down and I wouldn't really recommend it.

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