Love this book ... absolutely love it. First published in 1949, it's still the greatest one-stop shop for obscure and fascinating information about the folklore and mythology of just about every part of the world, with entries written by an impressive array of scholars from some of the USA's finest universities. Just picking a few entries from the letter 'B', we find the ancient Semitic god, Baal, the Russian witch, Baba Yaga, Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, backward speech, the Irish goddess, Badb, badger medicine amongst the Pueblo, bagpipes, the Norse god, Balder, ballads, banshees, baptism, bar mitzvahs, basilisks, Chinese bean curd gods, beans, Bear medicine, beast gods, beating the bounds, Beauty and the Beast, beech trees, bees, belladona and Beltane. And that's just a small selection from 78 large pages of 'B' entries.
As suggested in my review title, the name dictionary really doesn't come close to doing this amazing book justice. Its entries are encyclopaedic in their scope and detail. The general entry on Celtic mythology alone runs to 6 pages and, given the large page size and small font, I guess it must run to about 6,000 words. In each such general entry, words in italics indicate that there is a separate entry for that word or name. Volume 1 runs to 531 pages, while volume 2 takes the count up to 1,196. So, if you want to know about folklore and mythology, from Aa, the consort of Shamash in Babylonian religion, through to zya, the Buriat term for the figure of a person drawn on cloth or paper for the purpose of working magic against him, then this is the first place to look.