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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The book details unicorn lore from all over the world, from India's karkadann to the Japanese kirin. It is full of pictures, from the Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries at the Cloisters to a Sunkist orange label from the 1930s. It made me look at unicorns in a new way. If you are a hard-core unicorn lover, I recommend it!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I am one of you,

ephemeral being.

A lunar autumn creature

shadow veined, cobweb mane.

My favorite legendary creature, the unicorn becomes a chameleon in this book. Author Nancy Hathaway, after a brisk introduction to these elusive creatures, states that she is going to present legends of unicorns, "transformed--sometimes in small ways, sometimes in large--to create a series of visions of that wondrous being, the living unicorn."

While I was reading "The Unicorn" I was never sure if the various stories were actually part of an historical mythology, or whether the author had created the story whole-cloth from her imagination. That bothered me. Even though this book is not presented as anthropology, it was a bit like reading Frasier's "Golden Bough" without knowing whether the author was recording and interpreting a tribe's origin myths, or making the whole thing up for his own amusement.

Hathaway seems to be inserting unicorns into historical events like the birth of Confucius, the military campaigns of Alexander the Great, and the biblical story of the prophet, Daniel.

Or is she? Were unicorns actually part of the legends that were told about these famous men? I checked the internet on the above three examples and found unicorn references for all three men.

Even though I'm still confused, I found the stories interesting, although the author's language was occasionally a bit twee. Hathaway reveals that unicorns aren't just pretty white horses with horns. A Chinese unicorn, the k'i-lin, resembles a combination of horse and dragon. A Persian unicorn, the karkadann looks a bit like a striped, one-horned water buffalo. The unicorns of the Septuagint were as big as mountains.

The unicorn was universally fierce, a symbol of death (except in the presence of maidens). Medieval Europeans developed a strong linkage between Mary, mother of Jesus, and the unicorn. Sometimes the unicorn was symbolic of Christ Himself, who saved mankind from Satan's poison.

"The Unicorn" is beautifully illustrated with tapestries, woodcuts, paintings, miniatures, and sculpture from all cultures who revered this mythical beast. In fact, the illustrations might provide more insight into the unicorn than the author's stories.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
My favorite legendary creature, the unicorn becomes a chameleon in this book. Author Nancy Hathaway, after a brisk introduction to these elusive creatures, states that she is going to present legends of unicorns, "transformed--sometimes in small ways, sometimes in large--to create a series of visions of that wondrous being, the living unicorn."

While I was reading "The Unicorn" I was never sure if the various stories were actually part of an historical mythology, or whether the author had created the story whole-cloth from her imagination. That bothered me. Even though this book is not presented as anthropology, it was a bit like reading Frasier's "Golden Bough" without knowing whether the author was recording and interpreting a tribe's origin myths, or making the whole thing up for his own amusement.

Hathaway seems to be inserting unicorns into historical events like the birth of Confucius, the military campaigns of Alexander the Great, and the biblical story of the prophet, Daniel.

Or is she? Were unicorns actually part of the legends that were told about these famous men? I checked the internet on the above three examples and found unicorn references for all three men.

Even though I'm still confused, I found the stories interesting, although the author's language was occasionally a bit twee. Hathaway reveals that unicorns aren't just pretty white horses with horns. A Chinese unicorn, the k'i-lin, resembles a combination of horse and dragon. A Persian unicorn, the karkadann looks a bit like a striped, one-horned water buffalo. The unicorns of the Septuagint were as big as mountains.

The unicorn was universally fierce, a symbol of death (except in the presence of maidens). Medieval Europeans developed a strong linkage between Mary, mother of Jesus, and the unicorn. Sometimes the unicorn was symbolic of Christ Himself, who saved mankind from Satan's poison.

"The Unicorn" is beautifully illustrated with tapestries, woodcuts, paintings, miniatures, and sculpture from all cultures who revered this mythical beast. In fact, the illustrations might provide more insight into the unicorn than the author's stories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2014
I had this book as a little girl which tells about the history of Unicorns. I somehow lost this book, but I was glad I was able to find it again for my daughter so she could enjoy the same history and stories.
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VINE VOICEon April 10, 2014
The Unicorn is an oldie, and obviously a classic for many fans of unicorn lore. I found it to be fairly dry. It reads like a series of research thesis papers strung together, while I was hoping for something more in the "infotainment" category. I bought it for my daughter who loves unicorns, but this is definitely not for kids. I don't even think today's teens would enjoy it all that much. The images are interesting, but I can't say I was too impressed. Considering the high ratings, I was disappointed by the book. Maybe this was an awesome book at one time, but I can't help feeling that a modern treatment would do a much better job.
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on March 6, 2013
I used to have this book when I was younger, but lost it in a move. Imagine how thrilled I was to find it once again, and for such a bargain! The pages are filled with colorful images of the Unicorn, as interpreted through the years by many cultures and with many mediums. Tapestry images, paintings, stories and more. If you love unicorns, this is a fantastic book to have in your collection!
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on December 26, 2011
I had seen this book advertised a long time ago and recently I found the little clipping I had saved. Want it, get it, from Amazon books. I ordered this book and it was given to a very dear friend for her birthday. Needless to say, but she was delighted with the book and it is with her collection of many, many Unicorn figures.
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on January 22, 2014
Great book, tons of pictures, just what i was looking for. Was a little water damaged and dirty but it was used, so no big deal. wiped it down and read it just fine.
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on February 25, 2013
I had this book once when I was a child, but lost it years later. I'm so glad to find it again, it's just as I remembered it!
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on January 6, 2013
This is a well presented book, but for a much older child; it is an adult book, actually. The illustrations are lovely.
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