6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Quest for the Shaman: Shape-Shifters, Sorcerers and Spirit-healers of Ancient Europe (Hardcover)
I admit to not having read this book in full, I was doing some research into art and artefacts based around Shamanic practices, but I gave up and started just skimming the latter parts due its uselessness. The book is full of thinly stretched assumptions about the links between ancient european ritual and culture with Shamanism, seeming to put forth the concept that our ancestors were incapable of imagining or enacting anything at all not based around it in some way, to the extent that imagery of a figure simply raising it's arms into the air must be interpreted as someone in trance induced ecstasy. The authors have clearly done a lot of research into a variety of archaeological sources, but to apply such a narrow depth of meaning to all of it is foolish and pointless. I found the structure of the writing which i did read through to be irritating in its constant attempts to bring everything round to the good ol' Shaman as though it were justified, despite the lack of any contextual evidence beyond simple assumptions. The amount of straws the authors were clutching at began to amount to a collection so great it was rivalled in its size only by the imagined physical presence of their arrogance in expecting me to believe those straws were magic shaman wands.
They aren't, they are just straws.
Ultimately this book seemed to be closer to Historical fiction or the ramblings of a conspiracy theorist, rather than something I could trust for solid information. If you're looking for the former, you'll have plenty to read here. I simply wanted to warn anyone looking for the latter to avoid this book.
(But then again I didn't read it in full so maybe I missed some twist at the end that made it all work)
The 2 stars are for the competent writing and effort that's gone into inventing explanations for artefacts from almost nothing, and the quality of the presentation.