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Not In Kansas Anymore : A Curious Tale of How Magic Is Transforming America Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 1, 2005


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 1, 2005
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0060726784
  • ASIN: B000GG4LOO
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,929,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Apparently vampires not only exist but are alive, well, and possibly living in your home town. It's also likely that the spirit of novelist Zora Neale Hurston is in North Carolina giving magical people very specific instructions about what to do with her grave dirt. At least this is what Wicker suggests with a lot of wit, a serious dash of journalistic curiosity, and always respect for even the strange and unbelievable characters she encountered as she journeyed across America in search of all things magical. A former religion reporter for the Dallas Morning News and author of several books including Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town that Talks to the Dead, Wicker tries to sort out the difference between religion and magic, and examines the many varieties of magical experience found across America. Wicker is many things for readers—a memoirist, a reporter, a narrator of fascinating stories and well-written dialogue and, not least, a humorist. Readers will find themselves unable to put this book down, absorbed in the story Wicker has to tell that is as much filled with laugh-out-loud moments as it is with insights into a topic that continues to fascinate both Muggles and magicians alike. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* After Wicker published her book on American spiritualism, Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town That Talks to the Dead (2003), fans began sharing with her their beliefs in what once was called the occult but now more typically goes by the name magic. Wicker soon set out to discover what was so compelling about the philosophy and practice of magic, or witchcraft. From the moment she introduces a group of self-professed vampires, who challenge her as to whether she is a victim, she sweeps us into some seriously cobwebby corners of the American psyche. Impeccably researched and filled with details on the prevalence of magic throughout American history, the book could be ponderous and freaky, but that Wicker's delightfully self-abnegating tone never allows. When she attends a ritual in Salem, Massachusetts, where historic witch-burning is the basis of a profitable commercial cult, her over-the-top costume makes it hard for her even to walk. Offered a chance for some good mojo to spice up her sex life, she decides to let well enough alone. Wicker never mocks the magicians' and witches' beliefs or their sometimes-extreme personal habits but rather constantly seeks the reasons for belief and the context for personal choice. Such an attitude might ruffle the feathers of those who would rather condemn than understand, but for the curious and open-minded, her book is marvelous. Patricia Monaghan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

If you want to be enlightened and laugh a little, READ THIS BOOK.
Cemeterywitch
She has a great personality, very approachable, terrific sense of humor, and the way her writing is in both books, that's how she is in person.
Nicholas Carroll
My name is Christos Kioni and it was my pleasure to be included in Christine Wicker's book.
Dr. Christos Kioni

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By M. Miller on November 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As someone who is pagan, it is difficult to know how to assess this book fairly, which may be why pagans are not reviewing it positively, or shying away from reviewing it at all. The author does an excellent job of showing us how the tolerant outsider views magical belief; they are close-minded when it comes to accepting it as a possible paradigm for reality, but open-minded enough to actually experience its effects from time to time, and report on it honestly.

Wicker, a former religion reporter for the Dallas Morning News, does some wonderful profiles of people she spent some time with - Dr. Kioni, the Florida rootworker, Catherine Yronwode and her husband Siva, the "blood-pact" Satanist, and the Goth pagan vampire set. She also did some thorough research on some of the quirkier historical roots of magical belief, and reached out to a broad sample of believers within the magical community. She even does a good job of careful criticism in an area where we need a few more checks on our behavior - witness her compassionate elucidation of the "fantasy biography" phenomena, something that pagans are often a little too prone to committing.

The trouble is that she often fails to report what we believe, confusing it with what she thinks is more important - what is appropriate to believe about us. Other American religious minorities wouldn't tolerate this sort of sloppy bias; why should it be any different for us?

Despite her efforts to be objective, too many ideas are left out, concepts that would have given people who don't believe in magic a better chance of understanding who we are. She describes Siva as a "blood-pact" Satanist. What is a "blood-pact" Satanist, and how does this differ from a more ordinary, garden-variety Satanist?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gently Feral on November 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When is an array of vampires, elves, witches, Satanists and hoodoo doctors NOT a freak show? When they fall under the respectful, thoughtful gaze of Christine Wicker. What she has done for the spiritualists of "Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town that Talks to the Dead" she now does for a much wider cross-section of American spiritual culture.

If you yourself are a magic-worker or "alternative believer" of any kind, you would do well to read this book. We all tend, like everybody else, to look down on people who walk our path in "the wrong way." I will never laugh at people who think they are elves again.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Christos Kioni on October 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am the hoodoo doc that is described as the computer geek next door in Not In Kansas Anymore. My name is Christos Kioni and it was my pleasure to be included in Christine Wicker's book. With the wave of her magic pen and trusty self typing computer, she opens the dusty vaults of the esoteric to reveal the commonalities that draw people from all walks of life to high and low magick. As a former journalist, Christine probes and ask questions you always wanted to ask but didn't know who to ask about, magick, hoodoo, Wicca, New Thought, etc. You will discover yourself identifying relatives and friends who watch for omens, and in some light hearted way or serious observe superstitons and employ magical remedies when needed. This book delves deeply into how spirituality is sweeping across America. It also reveals how people of faith and no faith find magick empowering. Not In Kansas Anymore is a page turner and before you are finished; you will have traveled far beyond the rainbow, and find yourself light years from Oz.

Dr. Christos Kioni

Metaphysical Consultant/ Spiritual Practitioner

Cocoa - Port St. John Florida
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Honest Reviewer on June 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I first picked up the book in 2005 and began reading. I got less than half-way through before I realized I could not continue with it anymore. Six years-later I wondered if it was time for me to finally finish it. Unfortunately it was not. I started over and once again, I simply could not finish reading this book. I've finally decided not to finish the book though I did skip around a bit and even read the end.

The book is about a "normal" woman's journey into freak-ville (magical traditions and the people who practice them). The author is an atheist. At the conclusion of the journey the author has not undergone any significant changes. In interviews I've heard with the author it's apparent that this was simply a job, a book she enjoyed writing, but at the end of the day it was simply a money-paying job and this "normal woman" went back to her "normal world" being none-the-wiser for her experiences.

It is average. It is not horrible. The concept is unoriginal and I'm personally sick of "normal people" vacationing in freak-ville and not coming home with a souvenir in the form of changed outlook on life or reality.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on January 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Christine Wicker has a talent for making the reader feel included in her numerous field trips. And she handles success well, for after the publication of LILY DALE she became one of the most-talked about authors in America and yet she never let it go to her head.

The ideas she comes up with in her new book strike some radically different postures, however, and I don't expect people will take to this miscellany as they did to the tightly focussed LILY DALE. Here it seems like she bundled together a bunch of magazine pieces and expects us to read it as a unified book. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. That said, some of the tales are keepers. I did enjoy finding out about the real story of the "most famous pubic hair in America." When Clarence Thomas said that someone had left a pubic hair on his can of Coke, white people read that one way, as if it was describing some kind of arcane, obscene sex act, but Wicker claims that black people knew that Thomas' "complaint" was a reference to hoodoo, the way that sex magic is performed by claiming the body parts of another or of oneself, often some intimate items such as pubic hair. Did Thomas come from a voodoo-believing background? These issues never rose their heads in the famous Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings, but Wicker seems to have cracked the case wide open.

I was glad to see that she makes extensive use of Valerie Boyd's well-researched and enchanting biography of Zora Neale Hurston, WRAPPED IN RAINBOWS, but I believe that Wicker is propagating a lie when she repeats the hideous old story about Hurston boiling a cat alive (to obtain a bone for a voodoo spell). Cultural differences aside, how low can you go when you want to attack a person from beyond the grave. You claim that they tortured defenseless animals.
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