Most helpful positive review
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Interesting and relevant
on 25 February 2008
As with many of these 'A Very Short Introductions' you will be disappointed if what you are looking for is a basic guide to the subject. OUP's brief seems to be to find people who have interesting things to say about the subject in question and to get them to write about their ideas at a basic level in relation to the subject in hand.
Here Helen Morales offers a fascinating insight into classical mythology. She does not offer a potted history of all the myths themselves, although she does offer information about where to get such information. Instead, and much more interestingly to my mind, she walks us through what myths as a genre mean, and what they do for us to make them still relevant for discussion centuries after they were first conceived.
She takes broad topics for her chapter headings, such as mythology and its resurgence in the popular beliefs of New Agers, or myth as a vehicle for political machinations. Within that she discusses one or two key myths and shows how they have been used and developed over the centuries.
This is well written, easy to read and fun. It really whets the appetite for more research into the subject. It has some good illustrations, although those of mosaics would have been better on a bigger scale, unfortunately not to be, as the books are designed to be pocket sized. There are useful things like time lines, some good charts and a good bibliography. A great tool.