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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
A good read for anyone interested in the mystery of the Druids. A little heavy in places but nothing wrong with that.
Published 7 months ago by Jim

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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A poor effort
This is another poor effort from Cunliffe. Some of his earlier books are very good, because they stick to the minutiae of archaeology and Bronze Age trading networks of the Atlantic fringe, which is his field of expertise. This book attempts to be an overview but isn't great, for a number of reasons. It contains a lot of basic information which has been competently...
Published on 12 Aug 2011 by Seán


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 5 April 2014
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This review is from: Druids: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
A good read for anyone interested in the mystery of the Druids. A little heavy in places but nothing wrong with that.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A poor effort, 12 Aug 2011
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This review is from: Druids: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
This is another poor effort from Cunliffe. Some of his earlier books are very good, because they stick to the minutiae of archaeology and Bronze Age trading networks of the Atlantic fringe, which is his field of expertise. This book attempts to be an overview but isn't great, for a number of reasons. It contains a lot of basic information which has been competently collected but this information is easy to get these days - you could get all the quotes from classical authors on the Internet very easily. As in the book he did on the Celts, he peddles his own pet theory about the Celtic languages originating on the Atlantic coast and spreading eastwards, in spite of the fact that this is not the consensus among experts. This is completely inappropriate in a basic introduction. His use of historical sources is sometimes bizarre, showing that he is an archaeologist and not an historian. For example, he takes seriously Giraldus Cambrensis's claim that the O'Neill chieftains copulated with a horse and then sat in a cauldron full of the horse's soup as part of their inauguration ceremony, in spite of the fact that Cambrensis's work is full of nonsense and that he had an axe to grind in terms of presenting the Irish as savages. (This MIGHT be based on authentic legends and have links to pagan customs but even so, there is no evidence that it was still practiced in the 12th century). His discussion of Celtic myth is thin and also questionable in places - anyone wanting to learn about this subject should buy the excellent books by Ó hÓgáin. He also seems to be incapable of using a dictionary - in his discussion of the Irish poets, he seems unable to decide how to spell the word for poet, which he renders fili, filid and filidh in the space of a few pages. (And inconsistently in terms of singular/plural). As a point of information, in Old Irish, fili is the singular, filid is the plural. Filidh is an early modern version of the Old Irish plural filid and has no place in his discussion. In Modern Irish the singular is file and the plural filí, so Ó Criomhthainn avoided offending a file, not a fili, as Cunliffe states. I could go on but I think that's enough!
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Druids: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Druids: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Barry Cunliffe (Paperback - 27 May 2010)
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