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The World of the Druids Hardcover – June 1, 1997

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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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Irish Books & Media (June 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 050005083X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500050835
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,325,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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 Cailia 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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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I never give anything a full 5 stars, but this book was wonderful --though I read the European edition which was released a month before this one by the name "Exploring the World of the Druids". This book was presented wonderfully; easy to read for anyone with plenty of facts (none which I've found wrong so far, only a conflicting fact stating that Ogham was most likely created in the 4th century C.A. rather than the 3rd at Miranda Green states) on both ancient and modern druids. If you have the slightest interest in Druids, this is a wonderful book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Siobhan Olaoghaire Sannes on November 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book absolutely brims over with illustrations, making it an excellent addition to any Druidic shelf. While I disagree with some of Ms. Green's statements (such as saying the Celts were basically illiterate - an argument convincingly disputed by Peter Berresford Ellis, among others) and I am not comfortable with the summation of modern Druids comprising the end (making us all seem cookie cutter similar), I still believe this book should be read. The numerous illustrations I have already mentioned do much to show examples of things or places you may have heard of before, but were previously unable to picture mentally. At the end of the book is an excellent "travel planner" if you plan to visit some of the ancient sites associated with ancient Celts and Druids.
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