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The New Patterns in the Sky: Myths and Legends of the Stars Paperback – 1 Jan 1988


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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: McDonald & Woodward Publishing Company, US (1 Jan 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0939923041
  • ISBN-13: 978-0939923045
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 313,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

This is a modern classic in the literature of sky lore -- a comprehensive collection of myths, legends, and historical notes about each of the 88 constellations and the sun, moon, Milky Way, and shooting stars. Star maps depict the constellations with outline figures. Written for the non-specialist and widely respected by professional planetarians, this book provides a substantive review of the familiar star lore of classical Southwest Asian and Mediterranean civilisations as well as that of ancient China, South Asia, and traditional societies of northern Eurasia, North and South America, the Pacific Islands, and Australasia. This is one of the must-have books that should be in the library of every enthusiast of mankind's enchantment with the night sky.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Feb 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After looking for a while to find a readable book on the mythology of the stars, I am delighted with this one.
I wanted stories to tell me son while we look up at the stars and this book is full of them. They all link together as well.
There is also information on the non-Greek mythology.
Useful diagrams and very well written, non-technical text.
An excellent find.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Aug 1999
Format: Paperback
The book provides a good background on the myths relating to the constellations. Especially interesting is the coverage of the Chinese astronomy. However, I kept wishing there was just a little bit more information...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Very interesting and informational 11 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The book provides a good background on the myths relating to the constellations. Especially interesting is the coverage of the Chinese astronomy. However, I kept wishing there was just a little bit more information...
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
includes star lore from around the world 20 Feb 2005
By Don Childrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Staal's death in 1986 resulted in this book being published posthumously. His original 1961 book was focused on constellations visible from London, but he was revising it to provide more complete coverage of all 88 official constellations and to include bits of the star lore he collected from all parts of the world.

The book is divided into five major chapters, four for the seasons of the year and one to cover the constellations near the celestial poles. Each chapter is then subdivided into individual constellation sections. Stall included plenty of descriptive text as well as sketches of the individual asterisms being described. The appendices include a few star maps that show the relation of each constellation and asterism to the rest of the sky.

Although he does reference specific stars by their scientific names, the focus of the book is oriented towards providing the reader with information about the myths and legends associated with each constellation.

Anyone interested in getting a good overview of star lore from the various cultures around the world will appreciate this book.

Don Childrey, author of "STAR TRAILS - Navajo, A Different Way To Look At The Night Sky"
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A nice starting point 6 Sep 2005
By M. Gianluca - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Those looking for a good reference to start learning about star stories and legends will find a good tool in this book.

What I liked more was the different cultures kept in mind while narrating a story. Often, we see that only Greek Mythology is considered; this book keeps an eye to the other corners of the ancient world.

Perfect for those involved in astronomical education and public outreach
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fun book to poke through! 26 Jun 2013
By Russell A. Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book goes ancient and inter-culture with stars and constellations. It makes me wonder why most people think the Greek is the beginning and the end (although that's also covered). I think the biggest kick is the American Indian astronomy. The "NEW" patterns is kind of a misleading... This is strictly early knowledge based.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Starred Review! 12 Jun 2014
By Mary Esterhammer-Fic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stargazing is addictive in a good way: the more you do it, the better you get, and the more you want to learn. So even the rankest amateur will begin to build a reference library that will be consulted again and again.

We have several very good books that help us identify heavenly bodies and learn specifics about our corner of the galaxy. This book is a little different: the late Julius D. W. Staal offers the stories behind the stars, an approach that addresses the cultural, rather than the scientific, aspect of constellations.

And as for cultural, it's really more "multi-cultural." Every society on Earth has gazed up at the Milky Way and developed lore and legends describing the drama of the firmament. Most guides that mention constellations use Greco-Roman mythology and names. Interesting, but limiting. What did the Chinese call Orion? What did the Navajo have to say about Cassiopeia ?

You won't need this book out in the field, but it's fun to page through as you become more familiar with the constellations.

Staal published an earlier version of this book meant for people viewing from Britain, and this edition was published after his death. I am sure he would have been happy with the final product, though.

If you're at all interested in astronomy, this is a book you should have on your shelf.
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