33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2001
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Ah, the Green Man. Who indeed would be more qualified to compose a book honoring this most timeless icon of the Wild Green more than John Matthews? My answer: no one! And Mr. Matthews, to be sure, has done a most splendid job of paying tribute to this once almost lost depiction of our ancestors reverence for the natural world in which they lived.
But far beyond just putting a face on nature (as the Green Man) our ancestors also LIVED according to the laws of the Green Man and his world. These Old Ways, for far too long, have been buried and disregarded.
But times are changing, and many of us have brought out our shovels and begun to dig, both literally and figuratively, down into the Earth to retrieve this ancient knowledge that was time capusled by our ancestors. And what better place to start than with becoming reacquainted with the Wild Jack?
"The Quest for the Green Man" is a unique book indeed. Unlike the many books written on the Green Man that only chronicles the history of Jack's existence (in both picture and words), Mr. Matthews title goes one further by shining a light on the Green Man in a contemporary flair and thusly making Jack-in-the-Green more accessible to us today.
Many of the photos depict recent day Europeans, in full dress, paying homage to the Wild Man. And many of the contemporary likenesses of the Green Man are not carvings, but rather paintings and collages. This, I believe is very important in that it brings up-to-date this most ancient image and provides infinite possibilities for modern humans (those of us who cannot sculpt or carve) to experiment with Jack's image and thus get to know him.
Additionally, there are many other areas in which this book that is just marvelous, such as: an easy layout, vivid photos, the inclusion of some Green Man poetry, fitting quotes, a small resource guide and a huge "further reading" section.
John Matthews, like many of us, knows full well that the wisdom and secrets of the Green Man are not easily won. But, if you are willing to meet him on his terms-to get out into Nature and to seek out his likeness in the trees, vines and weeds, and, to attune yourself to the cycles that he represents, Old Jack, I am sure, will be more than willing to allow you back into his realm.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book has a wonderful view of nature from a pagan perspective with an incredible overview of the history of nature and descriptions of the way humans related to the Green Man, The Lady of Nature, Robin of the Wood, The Wild Woman and many other images and examples of the natural world in earlier times. A great read, very informative and the illustrations are wondrous and beautifully chosen. One of the best Green Man books on the market today.
14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2002
Although there is some useful and interesting information in the book, the author is more interested in pressing his environmental agenda than in compiling scholarly information on the Green Man. I was annoyed by his constant preaching. I'm sure there must be better books on this subject than this one.
8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2005
This book covers a huge wealth of folk culture and history, but sadly cheapens the subject with awful suppositions and new age wittering.
The author creates theories, then bases other theories on those, to create a whole nonsense of his own imagining.
for instance (and this is my own lazy approximation,and not an actual excerpt) " xxxxx was also associated with the colour green, so as we can see xxxxx is also a green man archetype. As we have seen, all green things are essentially the green man in some form or other"
There are some tantalising snippets of information in here, that warrant further research, but the rambling style and eco/new age slant make this a tiresome read.