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The World of the Druids Hardcover – June 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Irish Books & Media (June 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 050005083X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500050835
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #550,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In this copiously illustrated book, Green (Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend, LJ 3/1/92) discusses the Druids in depth. She begins by analyzing the classical writings on Druids. She also discusses the role of historical and archaeological analysis, showing how little is known and how scholarly inquiry may or may not arrive at the truth, particularly since the Druids based their learning and training on memorization and the oral tradition. The author examines the archaeological finds and the conclusions drawn from that. She discusses the Druid resurgence in the 19th century and the Druids' role in the 20th-century neopagan movement. Well written, thoughtful, and thought-provoking, this work would make an excellent companion to John Matthews's The Druid Source Book (Sterling, 1996). Highly recommended.?Gail Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology Lib., Alfred
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Copiously illustrated ... well written, thoughtful, and thought-provoking." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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I can see how others could find it useful, but I just find it annoying.
Dragon
Some of the text is dubious extrapolations, but Green is generally willing to admit just how little we do know.
Juushika
It was worth it though and I expect this book will be a companion to me for many years.
Angus

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Lisa L. Spangenberg on October 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Green has solid Celtic studies credentials and her previous books, like the Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend (Thames and Hudson) were exemplary in terms of quality photographs and helpful bibliography. I therefore had, perhaps unfairly, high expectations for Green's The World of the Druids. Though there is a fair amount of text on each page, most of the emphasis is on the images and their captions. The captions often reinforce the impression that the non-artifact images created by artists like Gustav Dore and Fuseli are legitimate sources of data about historic druids, when they are at best sources of data about romantic nineteenth century presentation and imaginative views regarding druids.

Much of what Green has to say is speculation, presented as fact or scholarly hypothesis, like her ruminations on druidic prayer: "Druids and their peers would have conducted solemn prayer rituals for the whole tribe or community on important occasions. Lesser priests might lead small communities in prayer, and the head of the household perhaps led private family prayers" (32). Unfortunately, there really isn't a lot of data one way or the other about druid praying in the pre-Christian era. Green makes such assertions without referring to sources or even using the resources of comparative religion as support. There are a number of similar problems.

Green is at her best in The World of the Druids in her discussions of archaeology, and at her worst in discussions of myth and literature. Her chapter on sacred places is particularly well done, but not by itself worth the price of the book.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Francine Nicholson on February 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Do you have an interest in the druids past and present? Do you want to know the facts, not someone's romanticized version of them? Then this book is what you are looking for. Dr. Green presents the evidence with accuracy and sensitivity, describing what is known about the druids before the coming of Christianity (which is actually very little), the evidence of the medieval tales and saints' lives (which is suspect), and the efforts to revive "druidry" since the Renaissance. The illustrations are carefully described, appropriate to the text, and beautifully reproduced. My only complaint is that Dr. Green's description of modern druids mainly covers groups in the UK, with little acknowledgement that groups exist worldwide. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this volume as an ideal introduction to the subject for yourself or as a gift.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Acailawen on February 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Green's World of the Druids looks at various sources of information about the ancient Druids, including archeology, history, folklore, and classical sources. She relays more recent discoveries, explains the origins of the Druids, their role in society, religion, prophesy and a sacrafice. And, Green takes a look at Druids in the modern day.
This is a reasonably good introductory book on the Druids. It does tend to brush over some areas without as much detail as some other books in an effort to appear "credible," thus fresh ideas are somewhat lacking. For those looking for more of an introduction to Druid history, this more abridged (scaled down) work is a bit easier than many other texts, but it may not serve as well for those with a more solid grasp of Druidry and Celtic studies. I personally find much of Miranda Green's work simply reiterates what is already commonly written by other authors, and I don't get much new out of her work, which is a shame given her enjoyable writing style.
Discussion & analysis of Celtic mythology is relatively light, especially that from Non-Irish sources, but her accounts and interpretation are considered standard by many. Her account on women in Celtic Society, and as female Seers and Druidesses, (she gives them an entire chapter) is somewhat refreshing.
My only other complaint would be in her description of modern-day Druids all being Neo-Druids, and her promotion of a "shared perception" between Druids and Wiccans. While they are quoted as being "separate and distinct," the focus on Wiccan beliefs, rituals and coven membership seemed unnecessary in a more scholary book.
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Format: Paperback
Illustration-heavy, The World of the Druids is a partial introduction to the Celtic Druids. Green reviews the various sources of information about the Druids (classical texts, archaeological evidence, and Welsh and Irish myths). Relying heavily on the near-300 illustrations that make up the bulk of the text, Green analyzes the little we do know about Druids: their political and religious roles, ancient Celtic religious practices, and the use of sacred space. Some of the text is dubious extrapolations, but Green is generally willing to admit just how little we do know. The tail end of the book looks at the Druidic revival, including renewed interest in the Druids, early modern texts on Druids, the erroneous but commonplace connections between Stonehenge and Druids, and historic and current new Druidic religions and movements, including aspects of Neopaganism. A little repetitive, lacking in-depth analysis and commentary, but with copious illustrations. This is a decent introduction to the subject and interesting to look through, but not particularly useful. Borrow it, don't buy it.

Beyond doubt, the illustrations are the most interesting and useful part of this text. There are nearly 300 of them, all with explanatory captions; many are also mentioned in the body of the text itself. They cover a variety of topics, findings, landmarks, and archaeological digs. Texts on Celtic history and religion generally lack illustrations or, if they have some, have few, making this a useful resource. Unfortunately, some of the images are drawn reproductions (rather than photographs) and few are in color, somewhat decreasing their value or usefulness. Furthermore, Green fails to discuss any of the illustrations, or indeed any one aspect of the text, in much depth.
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