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283 of 305 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An fine introduction to Campbell's work
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...
Published on May 4, 2001 by J. Remington

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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell, et al
I began reading JC books in the late 80's and could not get enough. The PBS Series still holds my interest and attention.
Having lost my copy of the original transcripts I purchased this edition without regard to the Editor and find this edition and this editing misses something from the original.
I am sure it will serve many that are unfamiliar with JC, but I...
Published on April 19, 2003 by CE Stewart


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283 of 305 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An fine introduction to Campbell's work, May 4, 2001
This review is from: The Power of Myth (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
4.0 out of 5 stars A mind opening book that makes you smile from the heart, June 21, 2000
This review is from: The Power of Myth (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. It will lead you (after quite possibly confusing the hell out of you, as you try to absorb it into a preexisting way of thinking that may become obsolete via what he teaches) to wonder the way children wonder. And in the end, you will smile from the soul, not just the heart. I highly recommend this as a Joseph Campbell and Mythology primer- and recommend HERO OF A THOUSAND FACES after this has whet your appetite's soul.
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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
This review is from: The Power of Myth (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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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy Joe, May 8, 2003
By 
Swing King (Cincinnati, OH USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Power of Myth (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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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The essence of human beliefs, August 22, 2001
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Amazon Customer "dumonti" (Miami, FL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Power of Myth (Paperback)
I first came in contact with Joseph Campbell's "The Power of Myth" while taking a Mythological Backgrounds class in college. I also have had the chance to view, in several opportunities, the video series in which Bill Moyers interviews Joseph Campbell (the full transcript of the video interview is contained within this book). In the "Power of Myth" Joseph Campbell addresses the very essence of human beliefs and the need for people to identify themselves with an entity or entities (depending on the culture) that will act as a vehicle to fulfill their innermost spiritual needs. Throughout the book the reader will witness a development; a change in the tone, mood, and objective of the interview. What begins as a dicotomy of schools of thoughts (based upon the manner in which the interview begins) gradually evolves into a series of discoveries that culminate with the realization that human beings cross-culturally possess very similar beliefs, if not the same. Within the pages of this book you will find Joseph Campbell's contemporary and candid approach to the portrayal of beliefs, religion, and spiritually. Campbell uses methaphors sucha as "... our beliefs constitute the software that allows our hardware to function ... [sic]." Campbell enables the reader to travel into the realm of the inner self, identifying and explaining the conceptual ideas that we are often inspired to talk about when we come face to face with something majestic (which generally occurs when we are away from the hassle of our daily routines), in practical terms. If you read this book you will be undoubtedly touched not only by the depth of Joseph Campbell's knowledge but also by the manner in which he delivers his knowledge to the reader, and to Bill Moyers. This is the type of book that will truly take you full circle to place you face to face with your true inner self.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW, February 7, 2000
This review is from: The Power of Myth (Paperback)
I am usually a men of many words, but I will be very concise here.READ THIS BOOK.JUST READ THIS BOOK.If you don't read anything else in your life, READ THIS BOOK.I believe that this book should be mandatory reading for any college philosophy,psychology, or religion course.I believe it is also an asset for artists, musicians and writers.Anyone who deals on a day to day basis with the world of the human mind.Life just made so much more sense to me after I read this book.But beware...if you have been braiwashed in any way by organized religion, you may have to learn to think rationally and clearly before you can get the message in this book.So free your mind, and open a great book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Affirming Inspiration that Remains Timeless and Universal, January 1, 2011
This review is from: The Power of Myth (Paperback)
I have always, from an early age, been fascinated with all forms of mythology and in The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell's exploration of the origins mythology through the diverse traditions and cultures throughout the world, opened a new avenue to explore my facination on the formation of myth and as a way to relate it to my own life journey.

The Power of Myth is a transcript of television interviews with Bill Moyer and Joseph Campbell. I watched the fascinating and engaging televised interview in the late 1980's when it first aired on PBS. Campbell's extensive life work covered and incorporated a plethora of legends, lore, and ancient myths from Africa, India, the Far East, Native America, Medieval Europe to demonstrate that acros the globe, all societies and cultures create myths because humans have the innate desire and need to question, to understand, to know...how did we come to exist, why are we here, what is our purpose?

Campbell's contribution to the world of myths, cultures, and rituals is incomparable. His insight regarding the power of myth challenges the reader to view the world through a different lens and to see ourselves as a part of the interconnected web of life. It is through the acknowledgement and understanding that it's within the construct of our collective customs, rituals, cultures, and traditions that leads us on the quest to for life, meaning, and self-realization. The ability to understand why myths are important in our lives; that myths are the foundation on which societies form their ideas, mores, values, and religion, is the essence of the power of myth.

Joseph Campbell was a scholar whose writing was from the heart and soul. His eloquent works motivated me to explore my beliefs about life, growth, love, spirituality and religion. This stimulating book will appeal to anyone who appreciates stimulating dialog about what living and being fully alive really means.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Student should read THIS!!!!, September 22, 2005
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This review is from: The Power of Myth (Paperback)
It doesnt matter what type of religious or scientific following you believe in, this book gives you a history of our most fundatmentals struggles at the beginning of human thought. And during this journey you start to learn alot more about yourself and how you and how the universe connects. Amazing book!!! Must read!!!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power to See the World with New Eyes, March 17, 2004
This review is from: The Power of Myth (Paperback)
In my college years a friend who was a philosophy major introduced me to this video series (the book is a transcript), and over a period of a couple weeks, we spent many coffee fueled nights watching all six videos, interrupted here and there by heated debates and passionate arguments. Afterwards, I felt transformed. This book only scratches the surface of mythology and Joseph Campbell's other works (of which I'm determined to read), but it was a catalyst for me.
"The Power of Myth" will have you exploring subject matter in anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, philosophy, world literature, history, psychology, religion, and wherever else "your bliss" takes you. I found this book and video series inspirational in the same way that a standard college course ought to be (JC was a professor at Sarah Lawrence College), except that it's much cheaper! Ten years later, I find myself returning to it and discovering new revelations each time.
Read, watch, listen, explore, and enjoy!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the Small Minded, August 2, 2005
This review is from: The Power of Myth (Paperback)
I've read some of the reviews on here, and it's not suprising that some frightened people like to throw around the words 'anti-semitism/christianity' because it's a convenient way to devalue an intellectuals work that they're threatened by. I originally saw the 'Power of Myth' series on PBS, and it was enthralling and eye-opening, mainly because of the way Campbell is able to take such a wide and encompassing view of all of the world's religious and spiritual systems and relate them all to a few universal truths. If more people were able to see the universal truths at the heart of humanity, rather than focusing on small minded religious quarreling, there would be less war and strife. I suggest this book to all who are open-minded, intelligent, and seeking true spirituality.
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The Power of Myth
The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell (Paperback - June 1, 1991)
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