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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
19
Druids: A Very Short Introduction
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on November 30, 2012
The book is a great introduction to the mysterious and fascinating Druids. What I like about Cunliffe's take in the book is that he lays out all the sources of information we have about the Druids from texts, archeology and folklore. He explains the textual traditions and their sources and how they developed over time, which is vital. He also goes deep in the archeology and shows how there was a long continuity of beliefs in prehistoric Britain and how truly ancient the Druidic tradition may have been. Even more intriguingly he explores the remarkably short time it took for the Druids to collapse as a political, social and religious force.

Then however he moves on to how the Druids developed a more modern mythology and how they came to capture a vivid place in the imagination of modern man. Druids: A very short introduction lives up to its title it is too short but what a wonderful introduction it is! After reading this book you will be able to sort through fact and fiction and come a much better idea of what and who the Druids really were. As I have often found fact is for more interesting than fiction.
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on June 17, 2017
The books is short out of necessity as so little is known about the Druids. The author repeatedly mentions that there are really only 3 actual accounts that may accurately describe the Druidic practices through the blinders of their own bias. The rest of the sources cited are rehashings or complete fantasy. The book is actually a description of what practicing Druids were not - anything seen or described in the media. After reading 3 of Francis Pryor's books, I wished to sample another approach to English pre-history. So little is know or authenicated that the book is a trying exercise in repetition. I suggested doing a Wiki search and saving yourself the expense.
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on July 18, 2015
Barry Cunliffe's Druids does a good job surveying the relatively sparse information on the Druids from literary and archaeological sources and how the understanding of who they were has been interpreted by different societies. Neodruids and neopagans starting back in 1772 created societies under the influence of late 18th century "Romanticism" that relied upon overactive imaginations and was loosely connected with the past understandings of Druidism. A worthwhile read that is slow going sometimes, parsing the ambiguous archaeological evidence but satisfying to this reader because of the helpful analysis of what is actually known about Druids as "philosophers and theologians" and as present at sacrifices.
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on March 12, 2014
Druids are one of the most unknown groups in the world. Little is known about their traditions simply because it was a vocal tradition. It's a short, but very good introduction.
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on December 16, 2017
If you're interested in a brief summary of the Druids, this is the book for you! Concise and enjoyable to read.
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on April 19, 2016
The more I read these books, the more I love them! Unbiased, totally didactic anthropologies. I'm buying as many as I can.
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on August 21, 2017
I had to read for class it was okay
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on October 19, 2013
This book was an enjoyable and illuminating look at a group that has been shrouded by the mists of time. Good information in a easy to swallow package.
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on February 26, 2013
This book is answering the questions I've had about the Druids and is just what I was looking for. It's uncomplicated and easy reading.
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on May 16, 2016
all good
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