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Half Human, Half Animal: Tales of Werewolves and Related Creatures [Paperback]

Jamie Hall
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 2003 1410758095 978-1410758095
All the commissioned artwork is the sort of character illustration done at fan conventions for ten dollars at an artist's table. They're rather good examples of their genre, but still clearly amateur. Perhaps she was unwilling to lean too heavily on the work of the past, but there's no shame in borrowing from the masters, and it would have added greatly to the feel of the book. For the devoted fan of shapeshifter lore, Half Human, Half Animal is worth buying for the resource list alone. New fans to the genre could do worse than to start with this book, which covers a wider variety of myths and legends than the usual Euro-centric werewolf-exclusive fare. It's not the most elegantly written volume on the subject, as Hall seems to be finding her feet in this first literary excursion. Still, I'm looking forward to the second volume Hall claims to be assembling; with luck she'll have fully overcome her first time writer's foibles without losing her fan's enthusiasm for the subject. Half Human, Half Animal: Tales of Werewolves and Related Creatures will help round out any folklore fan's shelf.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Authorhouse (July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410758095
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410758095
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,725,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Tome Examines the Unexplored Niches of Worldwide Lore November 11, 2004
Jamie Hall's goal is clear from the start of 'Half Human, Half Animal'. He intends to bring up every aspect of werewolves and shapeshifters that has habitually been ignored by authors writing werewolf books for general audiences. In this respect, he certainly succeeds. Many topics in this book will be completely new to most readers. Seasoned intellectuals and folklore specialists will recognize a number of topics that have previously been covered in academic articles and obscure books published mainly by university presses, but which are seldom seen outside those venues. Jamie Hall manages to filter these academic treatises for a lay audience with remarkable finesse. He leaves the dry theorizing aside to present one interesting folktale or curious custom after another, with just enough background information for readers to appreciate the cultural significance and not get lost. The density of material is surprising. Few writers can manage to include so many legends, anecdotes and details of various sorts in just 300 pages without seeming rushed or jumbled, but Jamie Hall manages to avoid this problem.

He steers the reader through a whirlwind of cultural bogey-men, pranksters, monsters and heroes. The breadth and depth of this book clearly distinguish it from peer works, and should guarantee a place for it on library shelves. It will complement, not compete with, other books on the same topic.

The subject of this book is worldwide legends and lore about people who could change into animals or, in some cases, animals who could change into people. It contains folktales about the more usual animals, such as (were)wolves, cats and foxes, along with more exotic specimens of the shapeshifter archetype, such as dolphins, snakes and hyenas.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very diverse legends! October 1, 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not only does this have a great resource for shapeshifter movies and books but lots of legends from all over the world! This book focuses on all kinds of shapeshifting legends not just werewolves.The creatures are described as good and evil depending on the legend unlike many werewolf books that paint them as evil or tragic.
I have read tons of material on this subject and am very pleased with this book.Most books about werewolves tell the same legends over and over but this one gets into some that I have never come across.The language used is simple and effective. This is a solid book.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Half Human, Half Animal: Tales Of Werewolves And Related Creatures focuses on the human/animal transforming myths that are present in virtually every culture around the world in one form or another. From European werewolves, to weretigers of India, to the snake women of Asia, to the human hyenas of Africa, and more, author Jamie Hall enhances the stories and myths about "shapeshifters" with brief and informative histories butting the tales into an historical perspective for the reader. Also included are guides to books and movies about each species identified, as well as a directory that lists films, comic books, games, television shows, theme restaurants, commercial haunted houses, and other sources of shapeshifter information. From the tribal legends of African antiquity to the 1991 sightings of werewolves near Chicago, Half Human, Half Animal is especially recommended to students of Metaphysical Studies as well as folklore enthusiasts.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hats off to a well-rounded book October 1, 2004
In this age, it seems to be popular to sensationalize topics such as werewolves and vampires. Authors love dragging the subject into the gutter by clinging to cliches ... trying to connect everything to demons and witchcraft ... or pretending that everything from mythology is just like it is presented in the latest horror movies. Jamie Hall bucks these trends and delivers a well-rounded look at werewolves, werecats, werefoxes and others. He reveals that every culture has some kind of cousin of the werewolf. He traverses haunted, abandoned temples of ancient Japan ... the sheep pastures of American pioneers ... even modern legends like that of "White Wolf Woman" who saves travelers who get lost in snowstorms. You can meet a bloodthirsty snake-demon in the form of a handsome young man ... an African hyena-man who works hard to bring meat home to his hungry family ... or a werewolf who defends a saint's severed head. Jamie Hall maintains a certain distance from the legends, never gushing out an annoying "could this be true?" or launching into a dry lecture about exactly why we should not believe in werewolves. He seems intent on holding up this bauble of mythology to the light and showing us all angles of it ... from the oldest mythology around to urban legends just a few years old ... from lions and foxes to deer and rats. If you like mythical creatures or really good folklore books, get it. In a genre that often spits out the same few legends and is often hopelessly misinterpreted, this is a new ray of light.
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