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Customer Review

on 12 July 2011
Most people who own this sort of book have many similar books on their shelves (I do). If that's the case, this book is a great addition to your library. If you're looking for a single book to do the job, this is the one I'd recommend. I'm slightly perplexed by other reviewers who seem to knock the book down to base level for lacking pictures, but for those among the readership who are intelligent enough to know what an acorn, bat, candle, wheel, wolf and worm all look like, pictures aren't necessary. The symbolism included includes visual symbolism but stretches far beyond this too, including mythological and religious symbolism (would a picture of Cain and Abel really help?), rituals and activities (Blessing, Dance), types of clothing, philosophical and literary symbols and so on and so forth.

For me, as an academic, this book is the best of its kind, but it will be accessible to anyone - each entry is explained in concise, short-sentence prose, which includes some sparse details of stories and traditions. Best of all (and this is where this book really towers head and shoulders above nearly all its competitors) is that it is fully referenced, so the source for each symbol is listed in full, and you can go and read up further if you find the information too concise. For its breadth of coverage, and the depth of its explanations, this book finds a really useful balance. It's a really decent size, but is well produced and light enough to fit in your hand like a copy of War and Peace or Middlemarch.

It's also got some blank space inside the front and back covers, so if you want any pictures, you can draw them there; although my guess is that you'll be too engrossed in the text to ever get round to it.
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