21 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Accurate history, awesome concept!, 2 Aug. 2006
This is a wonderful, thought-provoking book that will not only open your mind to a new way of seeing the world but also fill it with a huge amount of knowledge! The author has a delightful style that manages to convey so much information in such an easily digestible, unpretentious and evocative way in a book that is beautifully crafted, with rich descriptions that bring the Dark Ages and ancient Pagan practices to life. The references to Tolkien make an excellent device for weaving the concept of our need for a return to the more imaginative ways of our ancestors with factual historical detail throughout the book.
Whether your primary interest is in Anglo-Saxon history, Norse mythology or in ancient pagan practice, each chapter is a feast of information and ideas which keep the reader enthralled and learning right to the last page.
I find it somewhat bizarre that previous reviewers question the historical accuracy of this book. Aside from the vast (and very well laid out) bibliography which should give some idea of the awesome amount of research that went in to this, I suggest anyone in doubt should refer to the very first page of the book which has the following quote from Professor Ronald Hutton:
`This is the only book I have ever read that manages literally to evoke the magic of Anglo-Saxon England, rooting the medieval texts firmly in a landscape, a people and a sense of experience. It situates the English in one corner of a vast enchanted world'
If you are in any doubt as to Professor Hutton's authority on these matters then I suggest you try google and see for yourself.
The fact that those querying the accuracy of this book have over-looked the endorsement of one of this country's leading authorities on ancient paganism and magic casts some doubt over their own `expertise' in this field.
I was looking for an engaging and ultimately authoritative read on this period in our history with particular reference to Paganism and spirituality, which is exactly what Bates delivers in spades. No need to take my word for it, but Professor Hutton's might be worth considering!