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KLIATTA handy reference source for questions about superstitions, Lachenmeyer's book offers pleasure reading for the curious and for students of history, psychology, religion, and social customs. His work contrasts Western and Eastern traditions and extends to commentary on the Last Supper, calendar reform, hotels, gambling, executions, Wicca, and phobias. Sidebars cite examples of the number 13 in works by Dickens, Dostoevsky, Vonnegut, and Tolstoy. Thorough coverage of historical events, including the burning of Jacques de Molay and the disbanding of the Knights Templar in 1315, particularize the importance of numerology to historic power struggles. A four-page bibliography and five-page index aid the teacher, librarian, student, and casual reader in locating details of number superstitions. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Penguin, Plume, 212p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 12 to adult.
—Mary Ellen Snodgrass