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Not a practical guide to hoodoo
on September 16, 2010
This appears to be the author's doctoral thesis. The first ten percent is a literature review--which newspapers and magazines have mentioned hoodoo. The last 29% of the book is notes.
So he's got about 60% of the book to craft a history of hoodoo. The effort left me underwhelmed.
Hoodoo has gone through three boom periods, he explains. He defines the New Age, matching no one I know in the movement, and says it is dying. However, the New Age, he reports, has created an explosion of interest in hoodoo among whites. He seems surprised by this, though earlier he noted one of hoodoo's greatest was Dr. Buzzard, a white. It is unclear whether he believes the death of the New Age means hoodoo is going moribund.
He says the professional hoodoo worker was killed off in the twentieth century by mail order. At the end he writes professionals are again making a good living doing hoodoo. In between he doesn't explain what changed.
Hyperbole rankles. Mormonism helped create hoodoo. (This would be a surprise, I suspect, to Salt Lake City.) One-third of Californians practice yoga or meditation daily. (Been here 52 years--don't know anyone who does either.) Hoodoo supply companies are making millions--"if not billions"--now. (Maybe General Motors should open a hoodoo sideline to shore up its automotive efforts.)
Perhaps if he had done the history chronologically instead of repeatedly bouncing around, back and forth, the effort might have been slightly improved.
If you're looking for a literature review, this would be a fine book at 99 cents. If you're looking for a history, read Wikipedia. If you want to know how to do it, keep looking.