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Conjure in African American Society
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2006
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
A thorough, and fascinating, exploration of a little-known facet of African-American history and culture. For both the history buff and the working magician, this is a page-turner. Chock-full of historical information, yet very easy to read.

A couple of tidbits to whet your appetite:

*Zora Neale Hurston's supposedly dubious African-style intiations can be traced to secret-society initiations of the Mande and Krobo tribes

*Spiritual-supply companies often recruited sales agents through churches such as the Church of God in Christ

*"Many root doctors practicing today have become millionaires"

I'm one of those people who places a Post-It at each really interesting datum. My copy of _Conjure In African American Society_ has one on almost every page. I'm just sayin'.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a fabulously compiled book chocked full of every significant reference to conjure that is or was available. For those interested in getting accurate knowledge of African American conjure and all things related to it, this is the book to have in your library. I go to this book first when looking for clarifycation and direction. Jeff Anderson has worked very hard to provide a truthful, complete picture of conjure from the beginning to present day. A must have for any serious student of folk lore, folk magic and folk medicine. Its a rootworkers dream reference book...Thank you Jeff! -Todomojo
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Insightful! A must read for anyone who is interested in African American spirituality and history.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
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.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is great for people interested in the deep-rooted evolution of Conjure in America. Besides its material of historical interest that reaches back into old Africa, it has some some practical material that the reader can piece together; this isn't a how-to book. It is an excellent resource - I found several other books of interest through it - and it is written in a sympathetic and intelligent manner. It is definitely worth the purchase if you are interested in the whole matter of Conjure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is great source of history about Hoodoo and how it is a part of African American heritage. Well written and researched.
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on March 19, 2015
Format: Hardcover
What was I thinking? a book I leafed through and never looked at again.
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