This book is unique because it book tells an amazing story of the relatively recent history of Stonehenge. In particular, it focuses on the relationship between people and Stonehenge in the 20th century. This is a story of Druids, Land-owners, Free-festivals, Neo-pagans, new-age travellers, political activists, English Heritage, the British Government and tourists. Andy Worthington has done a remarkable job of weaving together the various cultural histories. He shows fairness and respect towards all parties (especially important since there are many countercultures explored in this book).
Andy Worthington's book opens many new debates and addresses a range of popular myths/misunderstandings regarding Stonehenge's recent history. Hopefully this book will inspire further cultural histories and memoirs about the relationship between people and Stonehenge. Absolutely brilliant book and it doesn't require any previous knowledge of the subject area! I'm lending it to all my friends now - so far those who have read it have found it a brisk and engaging read!
I didn't put this book down after reading it. It doesn't deal too much with the ancient history of Stonehenge, which we're unlikely ever to figure out, but instead focuses on Stonehenge and it's counter-cultural importance in the last 100 years - and more importantly, it's place in the early 80s when the Thatcher government sent in police to brutally bring to an end the Stonehenge Free Festival at the Battle of the Beanfield, where women and children were assaulted by over zealous police. It moves on to the rave scene and road protest movement, and analyses the links between all these anti-authoritarian movements all link back to Stonehenge. Whether you have interest in social justice, anarchy or activism or are looking at Stonehenge from a Pagan perspective, I'd highly recommend this book.
If you are new to this subject, or you only want to buy one book on it, don’t buy this one. It would be OK as an addition to your collection on history/archaeology though. This area is also an area fraught with danger – if you really love the area you have to be careful to filter out the dingly dangly brigade who don’t really love the subject, but are more interested in putting upon it their own needs and fantasies. It is a bit insulting to the subject really, doing this instead of learning about it – and really learning about it is so rewarding. Give it a go! Neolithic culture really is an immensely enjoyable subject, you’ll get so much out of it – if you haven’t thought about this period or subject as your area before, do give it a go. Work, farming, politics, food, religion, landscape, culture and art in these areas is so fascinating – give the subject a go – you may well be hooked!! If you are new to the subject or you just want one book on the subject, Aubrey Burl or Francis Pryor would be a better starting point. Happy reading and get out into that landscape! (Take your waterproofs though!)
A wonderful book, a good insight for Druidry too, however I would ignore the political statement on the previous review, Casp certainly needs to re-educate himself.. This is a marvellous book. Very well done.