Hinduism is such a vast, complex, and exotic topic that to boil it down to a few hundred pages--and make it fun--must be the work of a true avatar, in this case Linda Johnsen. In The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hinduism
, Johnsen covers the history, philosophy, devotions, gods, and traditions of this timeless religion. She takes pains to not only make the material easy to read and understand but to get inside the minds of Hindus, themselves, to make sense of what they believe and why. This sympathetic view is balanced by objective and concrete reporting. For example, she presents discussions of the Aryan Invasion theory, whether Jesus visited India, and a well-documented case of modern-day reincarnation. In addition to introducing each of the different strains of Hinduism and their beliefs, she also gives an overview of the classic Hindu myths. Exotic, yes, but Johnsen succeeds in bringing Hinduism closer to home. --Brian Bruya
About the Author
Linda Johnsen holds a Master's degree in Eastern studies. She is author of Daughters of the Goddess: The Women Saints of India (winner of the Midwest Book Association Award for Best New Age Book of the Year), The Living Goddess: Reclaiming the Tradition of the Mother of the Universe, and Meditation Is Boring? Putting Life in Your Spiritual Practice. She has published nearly 100 articles in magazines such as Hinduism Today, Yoga Journal, and Yoga International, and has lectured throughout the United States on Hindu spirituality.