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The Power of Myth [Kindle Edition]

Joseph Campbell , Bill Moyers
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (296 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $8.59
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Book Description

Finally available in a popularly priced,  non-illustrated, smaller-format edition, which is ideal  for the college market and general reader alike,  this extraordinary best-seller is a brilliant  evocation of the noted scholar's teachings on mythology.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Among his many gifts, Joseph Campbell's most impressive was the unique ability to take a contemporary situation, such as the murder and funeral of President John F. Kennedy, and help us understand its impact in the context of ancient mythology. Herein lies the power of The Power of Myth, showing how humans are apt to create and live out the themes of mythology. Based on a six-part PBS television series hosted by Bill Moyers, this classic is especially compelling because of its engaging question-and-answer format, creating an easy, conversational approach to complicated and esoteric topics. For example, when discussing the mythology of heroes, Campbell and Moyers smoothly segue from the Sumerian sky goddess Inanna to Star Wars' mercenary-turned-hero, Han Solo. Most impressive is Campbell's encyclopedic knowledge of myths, demonstrated in his ability to recall the details and archetypes of almost any story, from any point and history, and translate it into a lesson for spiritual living in the here and now. --Gail Hudson

Review

"The symbols of mythology and legend are all around  us, embedded in the fabric of our daily lives, and  the Moyers-Campbell dialogues are a welcom guide  to recognizing and understanding their meanings."  -- Cincinnati Post.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
284 of 306 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An fine introduction to Campbell's work May 4, 2001
Format:Paperback
Since this book is basically the transcripts from Bill Moyer's excellent televised interviews with Joseph Campbell, "The Power of Myth" frequently comes off as a "Reader's Digest" coffee table condensation of Campbell's life and work. Since the interview, by its very nature is limited in its scope and focus, "The Power of Myth" simply does not possess the depth of Campbell's other work.
This really is no matter as what is present provides the reader with a fine introduction to Campbell's passionate devotion to World Myth. Campbell's life thesis, that man posseses the innate desire and need to create myth, is a compelling idea the binds us all to ourselves and each other.
"The Power of Myth" is NOT to be taken as a religious tome. In that context, it certainly does come off as a cockeyed New Age concoction of non-commitment. It is meant, however, to be taken as a work of deconstructionist literary criticsm that seeks to celebrate the common threads running through all cultures and perspectives.
Campbell openly celebrates man's ability to imagine as well as his devotion to ideas. He does not seek to debunk or trivialize the devout (one must be careful to realize this as they read Campbell). His scholarly intent as I see it, is to encourage and nurture the seed of faith inherent in all and encourage everyone to embark on their own heroic adventures of discovery.
"The Power of Myth" serves as an excellent bibliography of sorts as it lists the many great folktales and religious texts which demand re-reading. Campbell urges his audience to read for themselves and search for their own discoveries.
If one is searching for a far more in depth study of myth, I cannot praise enough Campbell's excellent "The Hero With A Thousand Faces". As is, "The Power of Myth" is a fine starting point.
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120 of 129 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Of my two favorite memories of Campbell's talks with Bill Moyers of PBS, which is what this book transcribes and encapsulates, the one that comes to mind is an introduction between Campbell and a Catholic Priest, perhaps a Cardinal, that he retells. After they are introduced and the Priest is told who Dr. Campbell is and a little about his life, he asks him, "Are you still Catholic?" To which he replies "No, Father." He then asks- and Campbell was impressed by his specificity- "Do you believe in a *personal* God?" To which Campbell replies, "No, Father."
The Priest then replies, almost as if to engage in a debate and denigrate the atheist's worship of the rational mind uber alles simultaneously (and an atheist is what you are led to assume he thinks Campbell is), "Well, I guess there is no way to logically prove the existence of God." And Campbell answers, calmly, "If there were Father, what would be the value of faith?"
"It's been a pleasure meeting you Dr. Campbell, have a nice day."
Regardless of your faith, interest, background or education, you will find yourself in the same shoes of that Priest when you read this. Campbell's erudition and knowledge of the many ideas, subtexts and similarities inherent in the world's treasure trove of mythology is daunting to say the least, and his approach is designed to have it all make sense to the modern human's heart. THE POWER OF MYTH may be the best Campbell book to serve as the doorway to his world, his incredible mind, and the eternal wisdom of mythology, as it manifests itself in every culture- not to mention our personal lives.
To say it will make you think is almost denigrating it; it will make you ponder.
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77 of 92 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read with an Open Mind July 31, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I've looked at the other reveiws of this book and some on other works by Campbell, and I've noticed that those who don't like his books don't understand some of the primary messages they contain. These are things that cannot be explained in 1,000 words so I won't go into it here, but I would recomend reading Alan Watts, Abraham Maslow, Robert Anton Wilson, Hermann Hesse, Aldous Huxley, and Buckminster Fuller. If you still don't get it then you never will from reading a book so you might as well quit. As for the comments about it being New Age crap, I would say read it again...the stories and ideas he addresses are not New at all. They have been asked since the day humans became conscious and will probably be asked until the day we are wiped out. It seems to me that the phrase New Age is derogatory and is used by those who don't understand the ideas. Looking at a New Age section in the book store I see that most of it is Crap (BTW I found this book in the philosophy section) and is probably just a result of people trying to make money, but once in a while there is a book, put there because somebody doesn't understand it, that has a good message and can help people out. Also I want to point out that there is no claim made in this book that cannot be confirmed by science, unless your idea of science is screwed up (feel free to challenge me on this or anything else in the review and I will be happy to look into it).
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy Joe May 8, 2003
Format:Paperback
This is the transcript of the Bill Moyers interview with Joseph Campbell done with him years and years ago-a stunning interview-a stunning book. Readers will enjoy the book format because let's face it-when Crazy Joe Campbell was talking-sometimes we needed more time than which was given to "absorb what was said." From talking about the Great Seal on the American dollar bill and it's mythological connections-to pouring over a letter from Chief Seattle to George Washington about the purchase of land, this book is never uninteresting.
And to give Bill Moyers due credit as well as an excellent journalist who always knows the right question to ask-and whom unlike a lot of journalists today-actually cares about what he is and was covering. In fact, sometimes Moyers says something quite insightful on his own-it is the coming together of two great minds in a question and answer format-that produces the end result of genius-pure genius. If you are unfamiliar with the Bill Moyers interview, I would recommend purchasing it on here, the 6 tapes, or waiting until PBS airs it again-they always do. Afterall, it's one of PBS's all time ratings grabber. The reason I say that is hearing the way Joe Campbell speaks, seeing in flesh just how engaging of a man he is-allows the reader to "imagine him speaking through the book." To me-that makes a huge difference.
This book is a winnner all the way-regardless of what religious background you hail from-what sort of philosophy if any you engage-this book will certainly impress you the reader. It could actually change someone's life in the context of stimulating someone's interest enough in mythology-to begin looking into it. Or, it can broaden your insight into your own spiritual life in of which you have already established. Any way you toss this book up-it's heads. So buy it.
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