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Man, Myth and Magic: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythology, Religion and the Unknown

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0863070419
ISBN-10: 0863070418
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The new edition of this illustrated encyclopedia, last revised in 1983, has retained the same format and many of the special features. It has returned to the original 20 volumes plus an index (the 1983 edition had 11 volumes plus index), with new and updated articles. Many of the articles are signed; those revised by someone other than the original author are indicated by an asterisk next to the earlier contributor's name. According to the "Reader's Guide" found in volume 1, the set is designed to provide an "unbiased exploration" into the religions and cultures of the world, past and present, and their belief systems. High-school students researching a particular religion, culture, or mythical subject will be able to trace aspects of the topic throughout the work.

Volume 1 contains a list of original contributors with expertise and works mentioned, tables of contents for each volume, and 21 thematic bibliographies with classified subject guides to articles. New works published since 1983 have been added to these bibliographies and to the "Further Reading" lists found at the end of some essays. The encyclopedia is well illustrated, with relevant color and black-and-white photographs and drawings, many of which are full page. The only illustrations new to this edition accompany new articles. Major articles range in length up to 10,000 words and may include cross-references and sidebars with additional information or quoted material.

New entries include Multiple Personality, Afro-American Lore, Rastafarians, Urban Myths, and Hare Krishna. Some of the revised articles contain new information, but others are only editorial overhauls. The index volume contains a traditional A^-Z index and a classified index that lists all the entries under one of 21 headings (Rites of Passage, Eastern Religions, Foretelling the Future, etc.).

High-school and public libraries that field requests for anthropological research of any type will find this encyclopedia valuable. Browsers will also enjoy looking at this set. Institutions owning earlier editions will find the update worth purchasing. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Book News

A revised and updated edition of the encyclopedia originally published by B.P.C. Publishing in 1970. It is a comprehensive guide to all the world's major (and many of the minor) faiths, philosophies, legends, mythologies, and folklore, as well as literature, symbolism, superstition, and the supernatural, from the remote past to the present day. The depth of coverage varies from major articles of up to 10,000 words to concise, glossary-type entries in short paragraphs. Subjects of major interest include bibliographies of further reading. The mostly color illustrations, which appear on nearly every page, are crisp and varied. Volume 21 includes a detailed comprehensive index as well as a number of classified subject indexes. Targeted toward young adults, the fascinating (and fairly sophisticated) material will likely interest readers of all ages. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 3201 pages
  • Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Corp (January 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0863070418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863070419
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 18.2 x 15.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 40.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,692,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I own the 1970, 24 volume, set. I haven't seen the revised editions, but I'm sure they can only make a good set better. Although this set is comprehensive in that it covers a wide range of subjects, it is not exhaustive and is not intended to be. Only key elements or highlights of each subject are presented and a bibliography is provided for those who want to research deeper. This set is probably the definitive introduction to the field of the supernatural and related subjects and it is profusely illustrated with artwork, photographs, diagrams and charts. Some of the pictures are graphic and some contain gore and nudity, so I recommend this set only for mature readers. - Brad Clark
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Format: Library Binding
I too will refer to the 1970 edition of the encyclopaedia set (I was lucky to be able to purchase the set recently are a relatively low price) as I have yet to see later editions. I was fortunate to have come across this set in my local library as a youth and recently purchased a set of my own after an exhaustive search. Unlike so many childhood memories who's colours fade with age and experience, the joy I have when I read from this set is as vibrant as it was in my youth, though now I can also appreciate Man, Myth and Magic from a more intellectual vantage.

Man, Myth and Magic explores the realms of religion, spirituality, psychology and the occult. Articles within the 24 volume set range from the obscure (Wandering Bishops and various manifestations of witchcraft hysterias) to the very well known (articles on major world religions). The authors tend to be experts in their respective fields of research and are, by and large, objective in the treatment of their subjects. There are, however, some writers who have a vested interest what they write about - the article on Druidism contains two articles, one written by an historian which focuses on the known history of druids through contemporary writers (such as Julius Caesar) and archaeology, the other written by a "modern" druid who speaks of the modern incarnation of druidism. In most cases this is appropriate and as the credulous is contrasted with the objective skeptic I'm okay with this treatment. Unfortunately in a few cases there is no counterbalance. For example, in the section entitled "The Frontiers of Belief" is an article written about H.P. Lovecraft. The author surmises that Lovecraft's short stories and poems must have been inspired by real, other worldly creatures, a claim that Lovecraft himself would scoff at.
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Format: Hardcover
It's great set of books, with about every strange thing you could want to read about. It's interesting, and it doesn't push it's words on you. It leaves room for you to decide how you feel about it. I really love the palmistry section. I would (and do) recommend it to anyone interested in man, myth, and magic.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you can find these--buy it. I remember it well in the 1970's and never fails to entertain. Takes you back to those days of the "Occult explosion" and flower power. It's an awesome edition for your library. The book quality itself is exceptional and durable.
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