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Ms. L. Scott (Kent, England)

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A Short History Of Myth (Myths)
A Short History Of Myth (Myths)
by Karen Armstrong
Edition: Hardcover

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good points and bad, but largely good!, 24 May 2006
I must confess I did enjoy this book, and it acts as a good introduction to the Myths series. It deals with a vast range of myths and, perhaps more importantly, their contexts, something missed in many tellings of old stories. The old favourites such as the descent of Persephone are recounted as are the oft-neglected Mesopotamian myths. Armstrong also successfully deals with the place of myth in people's lives and society throughout the ages, tackling the resurgence of myth as well as the great western drive towards logic and science over the study of myths and symbolism.

I do have a few gripes however, as a student of Anthropology I have to note that her portrayal of early Homo sapiens and other hominids tends to be a bit askew, seemingly biased by the typical "caveman hunter" stereotype and how this would affect myths and world-views. In actuality most hunter-gatherer peoples in relatively good areas of land largely relied (and rely) on plant materials, not on hunting. Hunting provided a small percentage of food, other than in difficult areas such as the far north (ie modern Inuits). This aside, her theories provide much of interest, and although not the most complete book on the subject, "A short history of myth" acts as a very good starting point.

The Secret Life of Trees: How They Live and Why They Matter
The Secret Life of Trees: How They Live and Why They Matter
by Colin Tudge
Edition: Hardcover

24 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 12 Mar. 2006
An amazingly absorbing book, albeit with a lot of biological descriptions of plant structure. Still very readable, but unless you have the memory of a sponge don't expect to retain it all! Aside from the botany which is in itself very interesting, Tudge incorporates all manner of info, much of it surprising, such as the fact that mangroves use the tidal movement of the sea as an external lung to transport oxygen to the submerged roots. Along with stories such as that of Pontius Pilate sitting beneath a still-living Yew Tree in Scotland (and the fact it may have been possible), how forest fires can be beneficial and the ethnobotanical uses of many plants, this is one book that deserves a second reading

The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire
The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire
by Arundhati Roy
Edition: Paperback

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chance buy..., 27 Mar. 2005
I picked this book up in a cheap bookshop in Chatham as something to read on the train... it turns out that what I bought was one of the most thought-provoking and intelligent books I have ever read. Not only that, but Roy has the rare quality of an emotive writing style. Both beautiful and profoundly insightful- a must read!

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