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A Short History of Myth

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2005

    A Brief but Fascinating Little Book Regarding Mythology

    How did man survive a world without the tools of photography, satellite communication, computers, DNA analysis, and tomes of philosophy volumes and socioreligious dissertations, and all the accoutrements of 'civilization' with which we are inundated? The way man explains the so-called controllable present by machines and intellect (that present of course must include events such as Katrina hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, computer viruses and worms etc etc etc) was once the service of myths - and have we really come so far as to mock them? Writer and scholar Karen Armstrong takes on the vast history of myths from the Paleolithic period to the present (the present being the apparent absence of myth since the entry of Reason in Western culture). The examples from the basics of the hunter and the hunted to the galaxy of gods that have dotted the minds of civilizations past all show how myths maintained credibility for things otherwise unexplained. Armstrong pulls this thread of history through her well-written essay to the present where she mourns the present state of the mythless culture we have burned onto the face to the planet. The big questions that have confronted man for centuries have not changed: death, natural phenomena, the need for a great organizer of the universe, the inexplicable occurrences once called fate and now dismissed as random interactions of atoms. In this easily digested short book, Armstrong makes clear that the romanticism and spiritual need of myths is sorely missing from our present state. And that is a reason for mourning! Not a definitive volume, but certainly an accessible one that deserves wide readership for those concerned about the human condition. Grady Harp

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2005

    Insightful and fascinating

    A Short History of Myth was a fascinating little book. Armstrong defines the meaning of myth, and walks the reader through myths as they relate to history how myths change and shift in accordance to human needs. I found her theories to be insightful and enlightening.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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