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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first book you should read if you want to tudy Arthur
The other two reviewers have covered what the book is about and its strengths and flaws. I have to say though, that anyone starting their journey on the quest for the historical Arthur should read this first.

Don't be put off by its title, length or cover, it is an excellent book on a very difficult subject. I have read almost every publication and paper on the...
Published on 2 Nov. 2008 by Mr. M. Wilson

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, and then some
This book was good. At least I think it was. But one thing it definitely is is completely comprehensive. There's not an Artorius, Arthus, Arto or any other possible candidate for the real Arthur left untouched, with a hundred suggestions for Camelot, from Corinium to Colchester and beyond. Any archeaologists hoping to do a Bonekickers and find Excalibur needs to read this...
Published on 20 Oct. 2008 by T. K. Robson


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first book you should read if you want to tudy Arthur, 2 Nov. 2008
This review is from: The Mammoth Book of King Arthur (Mammoth Books) (Hardcover)
The other two reviewers have covered what the book is about and its strengths and flaws. I have to say though, that anyone starting their journey on the quest for the historical Arthur should read this first.

Don't be put off by its title, length or cover, it is an excellent book on a very difficult subject. I have read almost every publication and paper on the subject and this one gives a great overview of the various theories and candidates for the man, or rather men, behind the legend.

If you're REALLY serious about the subject, read this, then read Tom Green's 'Concepts of Arthur'or Nick Higham's 'King Arthur, Myth-Making and History' - or any of the other academics who believes Arthur purely a myth, or even an ancient cult - to get a balanced view on the subject before embarking on all the other books.

Be warned! This subject can suck you in, haunt your dreams and after 30 years still leave you frustrated!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful Guide, 1 Dec. 2005
This review is from: The Mammoth Book of King Arthur (Mammoth Books) (Hardcover)
After reading various books on the subject of the historical King Arthur and the history of the Dark Ages you would expect to be fairly confident as to who you believe he was and what part of the country he operated in. This is unfortunately not the case. Every book has offered totally different but usually plausible explanations for why a specific area was his Kingdom or why a specific person was the real King Arthur. The only thing that these books have in common is that they almost always place King Arthur in their own locale. So I came to this book and having read a “Mammoth” book before, albeit on a totally unrelated subject, expected that some of the mist would clear. Thankfully I was proved right.
For a start, Mike Ashley seems to have read an amazing amount about Arthur; you only need to look at the bibliography to see that. He includes a lot of the theories and evidence from the more “respected” historians and archaeologists such as Alcock and Morris but thankfully does not ignore the massive outpouring of ideas on names, places and Arthur’s identity from enthusiastic amateur detectives like Wilson & Blackett, Blake & Lloyd, Keatman & Phillips e.t.c. His conclusions (which have a likeness to the Holy Kingdom about them) are clear and logical and I think a fair summarisation of the wealth of evidence he has examined.
The second section covers the myths and works that grew out of the medieval fervour for Arthur and although this mythical Arthur is not my area of interest, I still found it interesting to see how the layers to the story were added over the centuries. There are also some very useful lists containing all the names (and variations) of the ‘Knights Of The Round Table’.
There are some minor irritations however. Ashley says “the genealogy’s say” a lot, yet he seemingly never explains where he got this information from. There is also the fact that although the list and descriptions of Arthurian films is superb, the list of websites isn’t anywhere near as in depth. There are many Anglo-Saxon websites that have been omitted which deal with this time period and have plenty of information on the background to the historical Arthur. Nonetheless these are only minor irritations and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this book to any Arthur enthusiast.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, and then some, 20 Oct. 2008
By 
T. K. Robson "tkr9" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mammoth Book of King Arthur (Mammoth Books) (Hardcover)
This book was good. At least I think it was. But one thing it definitely is is completely comprehensive. There's not an Artorius, Arthus, Arto or any other possible candidate for the real Arthur left untouched, with a hundred suggestions for Camelot, from Corinium to Colchester and beyond. Any archeaologists hoping to do a Bonekickers and find Excalibur needs to read this first, if only to eliminate the myriad locations the inexhaustable Mike Ashley hasn't already considered. If, at the end of this, you don't know the Fisher King and your Merlins from your Ambrosius then you never will.

Whether or not you like it is largely irrelevant. It is the one, most comprehensive source of the Arthurian legends, myths and 'facts' you're ever likely to come across.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of information, 29 April 2005
This review is from: The Mammoth Book of King Arthur (Mammoth Books) (Hardcover)
I received this book just after it was published and I have to say it's a great attempt at bringing the many divrse strands of Arthurian legend together. And it's a chunky book, too, which adds to the value.
Although lacking the strong historical authority of Geoffrey Ashe or Christopher Snyder, and the appealing easy going touch of Daniel Mersey or Keatman & Phillips, this book is a great addition to anyone's bookshelf. Probably not a 'first read' about King Arthur - one of the other authors I've mentioned here should be your first, but a book that you'll find yourself diving into for extra background again and again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book but some flaws, 25 Jun. 2010
By 
M. W. HILL (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mammoth Book of King Arthur (Mammoth Books) (Hardcover)
Unlike many an Arthurian book this one does not attempt to identify Arthur although it attempts to give a guide to contenders. However it is a formidable piece of research into the whole Arthurian phenomenon but is does have its drawbacks.For instance we are given a list of Pendragons from Laurence Gardner which seems to have no historical evidence to back it up.

I also agree that Mr Ashley relies a lot on genealogy. However just because Uther, Gorlois & Ygerna do not appear in any pedigree does not automatically mean that we can dismiss their existence or try to force fit them into the pedigees (ie. that Uther probably comes from Eleutherius.) Neither Constantine of Dumnonia or Aureliua Caninus are in the genealogies yet we know from Gildas that they existed. As for Arthur, I submit that as Arthur's sons seem to predeceased him and he left no descendents it is not surpising he has left no pedigree.

I think that the most serious error in the book is its dismissal of a Cornish origen for Arthur.
The story of Arthur's conception is dismissed as pure myth and yet the whole story of Uther's deception of Ygerna could have been devised to disguise any one of a number of eternal triangle permutations. The true facts of Arthur's parentage could have been as much of a mystery as that of the Emperor Leo VI,

We are told that research indicates that references to Cernyw and Kelliwic are to a stretch of the Gwent coast, this has been disputed and Geoffrey of Monmouth certainly linked Arthur to Cornwall. As a Gwent man himself, I would expect him to be aware of any Gwent home for Arthur and to have used it. Indeed the Welsh sources do link Arthur with Gwent in the the case of his court at Caerleon, but they also put his courts at Carlisle and Kelliwic and the first is a long way from Caerleon, does this not suggest the Kelliwic would be too?

Having been to Kelly Rounds in Cornwall I admit it cannot compare with the grandeur of Caerleon or Carlisle but it does command the immediate area including tha Camel estuary. It may be an idle thought but perhaps Arthur was born in Tintagel which has some evidence of having been the chief fort of the Cornish in Roman and Sub - Roman times and later ruled the area through which the Camel River flowed. A 'Camelate' if you like.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 21 May 2013
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This review is from: The Mammoth Book of King Arthur (Mammoth Books) (Hardcover)
This book was all i wanted, it is very accurate and i love how fascinating it is. Once i started reading it, i couldnt stop until I was through.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good addition to Arthurian studies, 21 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Mammoth Book of King Arthur (Mammoth Books) (Hardcover)
An excellent and very comprehensive study although I may not agree with all the conclusions they are well argued and give food for thought.
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The Mammoth Book of King Arthur (Mammoth Books)
The Mammoth Book of King Arthur (Mammoth Books) by Mike Ashley (Hardcover - 1 Jun. 2005)
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