Stonehenge

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Overview

Welcoming 800,000 visitors each year, Stonehenge is the most famous pre-historic monument in all of Europe. It has inspired modern replicas throughout the world, including one constructed entirely of discarded refrigerators. This curious structure is the subject of cult worship, is a source of pride for Britons, and offers an intellectual challenge for academics. It has captured the imagination and the attention of thousands of people for thousands of years.

Over the centuries, “experts” have tried to discover the meaning behind Stonehenge. While each new theory contradicts earlier speculation, every new proposal attributes a purpose to the site. From bards of the twelfth century to Black Sabbath, from William Blake to archaeologists of the twenty-first century, Stonehenge has embodied a wealth of intention. Was it designed for winter solstice, for goddess worship, or as a funerary temple? While all have been suggested, even “proven,” the mystery continues.

Through the eyes of its most eloquent apologists, Rosemary Hill guides the reader on a tour of Stonehenge in all its cultural contexts, as a monument to many things—to Renaissance Humanism, Romantic despair, Victorian enterprise, and English Radicalism. In the end, the stones remain compelling because they remain mysterious—apparently simple yet incomprehensible—that is the wonder, the enchantment, of Stonehenge.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist

For several hundred years, people have believed that Stonehenge is connected to the druids, so ardently that public outcry eventually drove the government, which had closed the monument to keep it from vandalism and other deterioration, reopened it for latter-day druidic ceremonies on the summer solstice. Such is the power of the most popular understanding of Stonehenge. Readable and well-researched, this is an excellent primer on that and the other varying ways that people have interpreted the enigmatic and iconographic arrangement of stones, ranging from theater for human sacrifice to "carhenge" and other ironic re-creations.
— Patricia Monaghan

Sunday Times

[A] witty, erudite book...[Hill's] book is a treasure: stylish, thoughtful, miraculously condensed, and as full of knowledge as a megalith is full of megalith.
— John Carey

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674031326
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 12/21/2008
  • Series: Wonders of the World Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 4.78 (w) x 7.24 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Rosemary Hill is a distinguished independent scholar and award-winning author. She is a Trustee of the Victorian Society and a member of the editorial board of the London Review of Books.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    I am a high school sophomore who had to do a research project on

    I am a high school sophomore who had to do a research project on Stonehenge. I chose this book because it met my requirements and looked fairly easy, it even included pictures. When I first started reading this book I was pleased at how straightforward it was, I found almost all of the answers to my essay questions without any trouble. Some parts of the book were a bit long and boring because they didn't have to do with the information I was looking for, but other parts were actually very interesting. I was somewhat shocked to learn how important Stonehenge really is; I was surprised at how involved the government is and also the impact it has had on people. I thought it was interesting that large amounts of people go to Stonehenge to celebrate the summer solstice and I feel that going to that would be an amazing experience. The book covers lots of different information about Stonehenge and I feel is the go to book if you are interested in learning just about everything Stonehenge related. Overall, the book was very decent and provided me with my needed information and then some. The pictures definitely helped to keep my attention too! I would recommend this book to just about anyone who wants to learn more about Stonehenge, the politics involved in it, and even its cultural influence.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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