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A Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for Your Child's Mind Paperback – January 1, 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
Unlike many Christian authors, O'Brien has not made the mistake of throwing the baby out with the bath water. He does not lump all fantasy literature together in one category and toss it out. He carefully demonstrates the difference between good and bad fantasy literature, or, if you will, authentic and inauthentic fairy stories.
I do have a few points of contention, but they are minor, and detract very little from the overall value of the book.
1) CS Lewis is identified correctly as an Anglican -- a member of the Church of England -- but incorrectly as a member of that church's Evangelical wing. Lewis, in fact, attended a "High Church" parish, and strongly resisted political factions within churches.
2) JRR Tolkien is correctly held up as the model by which modern fantasy and fairy story should be judged. Having said this, very little actual analysis is provided for Tolkien's writings.
3) Similarly, in the book's "blurb", Charles Williams is held up -- but then not analyzed in the text. An analysis of Williams would have made O'Brien's concerns about Lewis' novel "That Hideous Strength" make more sense. (I'd still disagree with O'Brien on this one, but his case would have been stronger and easier to sensibly defend.Read more ›
I re-read this book every year or so, not only to dip into the wonderful appendix of recommended books, but to rekindle my courage and dedication to raising my sons. O'Brien writes in mythic tones as he recommends mythic literature. The old stories dealt with "powers and principalities" of good and evil, and O'Brien reminds us that it is ever so. Our children become flush-faced and wide-eyed at such stories, but we have allowed ourselves to be diluted and deluded into thinking that gray is the only reality. We lose not only black and white, but the primary colors as well!
O'Brien is a Catholic, a Christian - and is both unapologetic and unobtrusive with his convictions. That is, he makes clear the traditional rationale for his thinking, but the reader neither has to agree nor adopt those convictions to come to the same conclusions.
There are some books which one revisits again and again, and some authors you look forward to meeting and talking with. This book (and his Sojourners novels) and this author are in that category.
Traditional fairie tales expressed the influence the unseen world has on the world in which we live, but did so within the framework of a clear understanding of good and evil, right and wrong. Today's fairie tale is blurring the defining lines between these elements and creating a powerful, new (yet ancient) understanding that is degrading moral conscience and inviting young people to explore powers traditionally understood to belong to the 'dark side'. They even encourage friendship with any 'good' denizens of that dark side.
The original edition of this book was sub-titled "Christian and pagan imagination in children's literature." The second edition more clearly focuses on the immediate problem with its sub-title, "The battle for your child's mind." I read the original edition and was thrilled with the clear presentation of the dangers. This second edition is even more in-depth in its handling of the concepts and issues.
The reviewers of this book who speak negatively seem the rightful victims of the very forces exposed in the book. They give clear evidence of missing the point.
The point is not, "Are all snakes bad? Aren't any dragons good?" The point is that there is a malevolent mind, unrelenting, intent on destruction, at work at every level in our world, especially operative with tremendous effect in modern literature and visual media. To miss this point is to be a victim of the hypnotic forces of deception.
Those who read C.S.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a very in depth read. O'Brien does a great job of getting to the root cause of these issues in children's literature. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jimmy R.
A very well reasoned and developed examination of Fantasy. Author examines the fall of Fatansy, that is the turning of Fantasy from its Logos inspired origins to its current... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Joe Keenan
A critique of the increasingly degraded and subversive content of all contemporary movies, books, TV etc., especially for kids. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Nathan Lewis
This book provides parents and teachers with a much-needed explanation of the value of 'story.' Excellent book.Published 14 months ago by M. Swerens
While I don't agree with everything said by Obrien, we too passively dismiss dangers to our spiritual lives present accidentally or by intent In literature that blurs the... Read morePublished 17 months ago by paternoster
This is same book every parent should read! The problematic nature of our current world and how this has negatively impacted literature, which in turn will effect our children. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Ericka Soileau