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The Mammoth Book of Unexplained Phenomena: From bizarre biology to inexplicable astronomy (Mammoth Books) Paperback – 17 Jan 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Robinson (17 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780337957
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780337951
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roy Bainton was born in Hull, Yorkshire, England in 1943. After spending 7 years as a deck hand in the Merchant Navy, He took to writing seriously after winning a college journalism competition in 1966. During the 1970s he contributed to numerous publications, both local and national, including the Observer and The Sunday Times, and made regular appearances on BBC Radio 4. He published his first book, a history of British rhythm & blues, 'Talk To Me Baby' in 1994, and after a long and varied career in numerous day jobs, became a full time writer in 1997. Since then he's published 12 books, mainly non-fiction, specialising in history. These include a WW1 naval biography, a history of the British Army in Germany since 1945, and a history of Russia's Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.His features have appeared in numerous publications, including The New Statesman, Saga, The Independent, BBC History magazine and he writes features on unexplained phenomena for The Fortean Times.
In 2006 he was awarded a Literature Grant from Arts Council England to write his first novel, 'The Scrap Run'. Often referred to by those in the trade as 'a jobbing writer', he earns what he refers to as his 'bread and butter' income from a wide range of other genres, including commercial PR copywriting and extensive research in the music industry. As a regular CD liner notes writer for various record companies, his specialist area is blues and R&B from the 1940s-1960s. He is also well known to live music fans for writing numerous souvenir tour brochures for clients including Smokey Robinson, Mark Knopfler, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Willie Nelson, B.B. King and many more.
Between 2005-8 he wrote 42 x 30 minute scripts for the Sky Life Channel 160's holiday show, 'Britain's Best Breaks'. These can still be viewed on Sky and on line at www.britainsbestbreaks.tv . In 2007 he further developed his love of poetry when he was asked to co-author a work with award winning poet and playwright Kevin Fegan, 'Iron In The Blood'. This resulted in his own volume, issued in 2010, 'Tiger Heart, Velvet Paw' which is a series of poems and observations based on his time at sea in the Merchant Navy. Works in progress include 2 screenplays, a radio play and a new historical novel. Roy is also a Fellow of The Royal Literary Fund, for whom he works 2 days each week at the University of Lincoln, helping students with their essays. He is also a member of the Society of Authors and the National Union of Journalists.
He is married to Wendy, with two children, Dr. Martin Bainton, an English lecturer, and Sarah, a nurse with the NHS, and has lived in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire since 1987. He sees writing in the same way as a bricklayer sees his trade; "Spanish arches one day, straight walls the next - but if it needs words, pay me, and I'll deliver..."

Product Description

Review

Exemplary and broad-minded monster of a book . . . a masterful introduction to forteana's very broad church. (Bob Rickard Fortean Times)

About the Author

Roy Bainton, author of A Brief History of 1917: Russia's Revolutionary Year and The Long Patrol among other books, served in the Merchant Navy and has travelled around the world three times. He has written extensively for newspapers and magazines and is a regular contributor to Radio 4.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David on 2 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought I knew a little about unexplained phenomena, and this book showed me how little that was. Packed with examples that are clearly explained and well referenced, so I was easily able to cross check and get further details when I wanted.

I read the book in one go, but the book is split into 8 sections, each clearly indexed, so it would be quite easy to pick and choose
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Perfect Blue on 19 Jun. 2014
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I brought this, after having enjoyed another book in the series, and I was expecting it to be pretty similar. In may ways it, was, except for the attitude of the author who annoyed me right from the introduction.

Pros:

The book covers a wide range of topic, in summary form. Enough to give you a good idea of what the topic is, and what topics are out there. The author names his sources, and doesn't try to throw supposition or pseudo-science at you as if it were fact.

This book is a good primer to get an idea of what is out there, and whether a topic interests you or not.

This may seem a short list of pros, but the book worth buying for this alone.

Cons:

Because each subject is not covered in much detail you only get an overview of it. There is not much depth, and a lot of views\facts\myths is left out.

The author also makes it clear from the very beginning that he is down on anything that he considers "belief". He also considers anything that he is down on to be "belief". Regardless of its merits.

He comes across as being extremely condescending and dismissive on a number of topics, and rather than being neutral he makes his personal opinions well known.

It does get a little strange in places because he seems to congratulate certain people, yet is utterly dismissive about some of the topics that these people are well known for.

In some places he seems to include some topics purely because he considers them to be curious forms of madness, rather than because they have any real merit in either science or the paranormal.

The author is also notable for what he chooses to leave out. Probably the best examples are with Roswell and the MJ12 papers.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Martin Fielding on 15 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
This is the kind of book that I pick up at railway book stores (or indeed airport bookstores if it wasn't so bulky!) with the intention of whiling a few hours of journey time and I have to say that it is just about perfect for so doing. Contrary to one reviewer on here I expected lots of filler to live up to the Mammoth epithet but frankly there isn't that much here. What you get is a lot of opinion wrapped around even the well-known stories eg Roswell and in this context the writer is very good at debunking where debunking is appropriate especially in comparing contemporary accounts of events with the subsequent often unsubstantiated stories that grow up around mysterious happenings. Where he excels however is in the telling and retelling of many maritime or coastal mysteries - he himself worked on merchant ships for many years - including several very spooky stories that were unfamiliar to me or that I had assumed to be just myths, such as the Flying Dutchman. I don't recommend you read these too late at night or indeed on a boat!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By rm sam on 23 July 2013
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awsome probably a little to much info on clairvoiants but well worth the money enjoyed the ufo subject imenselly
and the life after death subject makes you really wonder what happens next, like the author said its something we will never know or be able to tell this book has given me lots of web sites to visit so it saves me buying more books even though i most probably will, and to finish my review WE are Deffinetly NOT ALONE
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Moore TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
In his introduction, Roy Bainton explains he's been interested in Unexplained Phenomena since he was 13, and the amount of detail in this book reflects this. It's a difficult book to review, so it's probably easier if I outline what's covered.

There are eight sections, and each offers a guide to the various phenomena - obviously there are no real answers or conclusions, as most remain, well, unexplained, but it's a great place to start exploring this area. If you find a particular phenomena which interests you, Roy provides links to websites, and a bibliography.

This is one of those great books to have on your coffee table or besides your bed, to dip in and out of. Although saying that, I did find myself fascinated by certain sections, and ended up reading for more than the length of a coffee!

The eight sections are as follows:
The Age of Unreason
Hot Chestnuts - UFOs
Beyond The Veil
Inexplicable Astronomy
Bizarre Biology
Maritime Mysteries
Panic and Paranoia
Combining the Fringe
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One might be tempted to think that a book with the word "mammoth" in the title - its comprised of almost 600 pages, including the index - will be rather superficial owing to the range of topics covered by the author. In my opinion, however, Roy Bainton's book does not fall into that category. I found it a fascinating read, well written and thought provoking on a variety of phenomena such as UFOs, spiritualism, psychics, maritime mysteries, cryptozoology and inexplicable astronomy etc. The author approaches these miscellaneous areas of the unexplained with a healthy degree of scepticism, rather than simply pandering to the gullible and sensationalist end of the Fortean market where facts can sometimes be sacrificed on the altar of fantasy.

I was delighted to read that Bainton's own interest in the subject of UFOs began as a boy after having read the works of George Adamski (my own interest in the subject was around the same age and by the same route) and when Bainton writes that "over half a century later, my gratitude to Adamski survives, but my adolescent faith in his veracity has taken a severe beating", I felt I was on the same wavelength as Bainton. He also injects a degree of humour into his prose, but one does not feel he has his tongue firmly in his cheek or that he comes across as condescending like sceptics whose sole agenda is to debunk that which cannot be quantified or examined by the methods of modern science. The best way to sum up Bainton's book I would say is to repeat his quote by Charles Fort: "The fate of all explanations is to close one door only to have another fly wide open". This book should provide much food for thought, so long as the reader is not addicted to humanity's obsession with explanations or its craving for ready-made answers to the mysteries of life and the universe. But having said that, reading Bainton's book might throw a little light on a few of these mysteries, which is far better than stumbling around in complete darkness.
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