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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wightfish, 21 Oct 2011
By 
D. Abington "Barringer A" (Isle of Wight) - See all my reviews
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There is no doubt that this book is magisterial. There are a few publication issues though. First, there should have been a good editor to iron out all the simple grammatical and spelling mistakes. Second, a bibliography should be essential in a work of this magnitude.

The book itself is grand. If you want to learn about religion in the axial age this is the book for you. Yes, it is hard going at times, but it is written in a simple direct way, which most people interested in this topic should be able to master. I have to say I was spellbound by it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but overlong, 24 Sep 2012
By 
M. Western (Dunfermline, Fife, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This book is the end point of many years of research by Bellah and the scholarship is good.
The style is not too academic but it's not an easy read either. Sometimes, I feel he loses the thread of his thesis, especially during the chapters on axial societies. These are informative but go well beyond the central ground of the evolution of religion. I feel that better editing could have reduced the length of this book and given it a sharper focus without losing anything critical to the thesis.

Having said that, his thesis is certainly enlightening though I doubt it's the last word on this complex and controversial subject.

In conclusion, I would say this book is a "must read" if you have a keen interest in the subject, which I do, but you may find it hard going otherwise.
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