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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Book
Ever since I was a child I was confused about the mish-mash of stories about Christmas. What has the old man in the red suit got to do with the baby Jesus, presents, trees etc?

Eventually I managed to sort in my head the old pagan traditions from the Christian overdubs, but this book is a wonderful account of the origins and backgrounds to the older forms of...
Published on 10 July 2009 by Mrs. PJ Taylor

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1.0 out of 5 stars Worse, the prose is execrable
A shining example of how not to write a book. I can (almost) forgive that it's full of unsubstantiated, and often clearly spurious, 'history' of the type so beloved by amateur enthusiasts. What I can't allow is that it is so poorly and illogically ordered, flitting from topic to topic without any apparent rhyme or reason. The contents may as well not exist for all the...
Published 7 months ago by Daffid


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Book, 10 July 2009
By 
Mrs. PJ Taylor (Reading UK) - See all my reviews
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Ever since I was a child I was confused about the mish-mash of stories about Christmas. What has the old man in the red suit got to do with the baby Jesus, presents, trees etc?

Eventually I managed to sort in my head the old pagan traditions from the Christian overdubs, but this book is a wonderful account of the origins and backgrounds to the older forms of worship of these islands.

John Matthews obviously loves his subject and researches it thoroughly and Caitlin Matthews' illustrations are wonderful. Read this with the companion volume: The Quest For The Green Man and your life will be enriched immeasurably.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Worse, the prose is execrable, 20 Oct. 2014
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A shining example of how not to write a book. I can (almost) forgive that it's full of unsubstantiated, and often clearly spurious, 'history' of the type so beloved by amateur enthusiasts. What I can't allow is that it is so poorly and illogically ordered, flitting from topic to topic without any apparent rhyme or reason. The contents may as well not exist for all the sense it makes. Worse, the prose is execrable, meandering and unfocussed with lashings of self-indulgence - it reads like listening to a stoned, drug casualty talking about their theories on the cosmos. And just when you think it can't get any worse, he includes 'poetry' that doesn't even qualify as doggerel. I was tempted to give some examples of the many failings of this book, but why waste any more of my life? Simply, I don't know how this made it into publication, it is the worst book I have ever purchased. Which is a shame, as there are very few books that cover what is a fascinating topic. But I'd recommend the Christmas chapters of "The English Year" as being a thousand times more valuable than this rambling, self-indulgent rubbish.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful seasonal book, 28 Feb. 2014
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This book is a must for the end of the year festivities, regardless of your religion. It not only compares traditions of the celebrations of light from pagan times onwards, but offers explanations of the symbolism of all that we take for granted in what goes to make the season jolly. Recipes, crafts, ideas for all!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive, 28 Oct. 2014
This gives so much detail about the history of the solstice celebrations, from all over the world. It goes much further back in time than most books on the subject. It would be interesting to anyone who likes history, not just those wanting to learn about christmas.
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