21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By and large a well-researched book,
By A Customer
This review is from: A History of Pagan Europe (Paperback)
For a scholarly and historical approach to the history of European paganism (as opposed to the cr*p and nonsense offered by several Pagan and/or New Age authors), this book is extremely readable and well-researched. It's not perfect; I have a few doubts about some of its claims, like that the Vikings had a "trinity" of Freya, Odin and Thor, that maypoles are Pagan remnants in the British Isles or why a picture of a sheila-na-gig was included when nothing was said about sheila-na-gigs (and which, contrary to popular modern-day Pagan opinion, are *not* remnants of ancient Paganism), but the book also does not go off into fanciful and nonsensical flights about unbroken lines back to the Neolithic, ancient matriarchies, worldwide ancient "Great Goddess" worship or alleged "peaceful" cultures with no implements of war. One of the consultants on this book was Dr. Ronald Hutton, a historian at the University of Bristol, whose opinion I trust a lot, although the authors mention in the introduction that he 'refrained' from commenting on their interpretations (I can see where he was probably biting his tongue since a few things they claimed were in contradiction with what he's claimed in his own books). I found the book hard to put down and was particularly interested in their honest summation of modern-day Paganism at the end and its more modern origins (some Pagans would like to think otherwise). (ObDisclaimer: I am a Pagan myself). For them's that wants historical accuracy rather than candy-coated New Age feminist revisionist histories, this book, in my opinion, is hard to beat.