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The Druids: A History Paperback – 17 Apr 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hambledon Continuum (17 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847252109
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847252104
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 2 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,615,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"Still, the druids exercise a powerful tug on some people's imaginations, and Hutton thinks their contemporary incarnations are extremely flexible. Archaeological readers will not learn much about real prehistoric Druids from this book, but many others will relish what it reveals about the foibles of humankind. Summing Up: Recommended. General, public, and undergraduate collections." E. J. Kealey, CHOICE, April 2008, Vol. 45, No.--Sanford Lakoff

About the Author

Ronald Hutton is Professor of History at the University of Bristol. As well as several major works on the British Civil War and seventeenth century history he is also the author of the Stations of the Sun, The Triumph of the Moon (Oxford University Press), Shamans and Witches, Druids and King Arthur (Hambledon/Continuum).


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Pilgrim's review is incomprehensible to me. As someone who is familiar with all the source material, in the original languages, and the secondary literature, Hutton's book seems admirably scholarly and well-written to me. It is highly intelligent, elegant and enlightening.
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Format: Hardcover
As a druid I found this history a fascinating eye-opener. Hutton is not afraid to tear down sacred cows if their foundations are non-existent or weak.

The book is mainly a history of what people have written about druids, which is very interesting in itself.

As a Druid I think we should recognise the rich history of modern Druidry, as recounted in this book, and stop relying on minimal evidence from the past.
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Format: Hardcover
Ronald Hutton has published a string of fine works exposing fallacies we've held concerning ancient religions and mysticisms. This volume, the first of a pair on the Druids, is one of the most devastating to prejudiced thinking. At the outset, Hutton reminds us that what we know of the Druids was produced by their enemies. Julius Caesar, likely the most famous of those, declared them the leaders of Gaul's resistance to imperial Roman invasion. Through the years, archaeologists, historians and others have attempted to form a picture of who the Druids actually were. These efforts have produced notable failures, and Hutton has taken a different tack with this book. Instead, in a carefully researched and comprehensive study, he reviews how the Druids have fared at the hands of those wishing to use their myth to create new ones.

In this finely crafted study, the author subdivides the Druid myth into themes that have been used to characterise them over the past few centuries. There are the "Patriotic" and "Rebel" Druids, "Green" ones, while others are "Wise" or "Demonic". Each of these portrayals has been forwarded by scholars, poets, social commentators, and not a few charlatans. "Patriotic" Druids have been adopted by various writers to convey the notion that Druid rebellion against the Romans was a model for others rejecting imperial incursion, in Britain, notably against attempts by the Roman Church to overwhelm Anglican Protestantism. "Rebel" Druids, Hutton considers a modern phenomenon, a form of 20th Century counter-culture - "hippies with a cause". The extensive chapter on the "Wise" Druids, on the other hand, covers a range of views. Druids as teachers, religious leaders and intense observers of Nature granted their image great influence.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was one I was looking forward to reading as R. Hutton is one of the most knowledgeble on the subject of druids, but I was however a tad dishapointed.
The book is well written, but contains little new/ original ideas of the origins of this mystical people. I found that it was more out to discredit other (especially earlier) work than anything else, wich took away the exitement I initially felt the further I read...
Although one cannot say anything for certain about the original druids as everyone knows, I hope that the more in depth book will provide what I'm missing in this one.

Saying this though, the book offers a great overviewe of the history and originis of modern druids and the affiliated scocieties. For someone interested in this part of the "saga" it certainly gives you what you are looking for.

I'd say it's a great read for those who are interested in modern druidry, but for those wanting more on the original druids it offers up little insight, and if the latter be the case it's a start for the curious but not for the serious researcher who's got a knowledge base.
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