Over the last 500 years, the sixteenth-century French doctor, Michel de Nostradamus, and his obscure yet compelling prophecies, have cast a spell on generations of readers. Many interpreters of Nostradamus believed that New Year’s Day 2000 would see the end of the world. Does its peaceful passing expose Nostradamus as a charlatan, or has he simply been misunderstood? In this new millennium, with dramatic world events casting new scrutiny on his predictions, the time is ripe for a reassessment of the man and his myth.
Nostradamus was a man destined to lead a double life. Born in 1503 to Jewish parents who had converted to Christianity, Nostradamus became skilled in the forbidden arts of astrology and the occult, and chose the life of a doctor to hide his shadow life from those religiously intolerant times. A Christian physician by day, and an underground Jewish astrologer and Pagan theurgist by night, he risked his life issuing a serialized book of 1,000 predictions on the future, published between 1555 and 1561. It became a bestseller and its purported successes in predicting events of his own time made Nostradamus the talk of the courts of Europe. He attracted both support and enmity from the most powerful people in France, and while the Queen of France bestowed honours, the Justices of the Inquisition cast a dark and threatening shadow.
Celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of Nostradamus, John Hogue traces the life and legacy of the French prophet in fascinating and insightful detail, revealing much little-known and original material never before published in English. Nostradamus: A Life and Myth is the first full-bodied biography of one of the most famous and controversial historical figures of the last millennium.
Estimated number of printed pages: 409
“I have known John Hogue for fifteen years. Every year, he predicts on the program [Dreamland] and every year, he proves to be fireproof. He's accurate. Uncannily accurate.”
—Whitley Strieber, author of Communion and The Coming Global Superstorm with Art Bell
John Hogue is author of 700 articles and 40 published books (1,170,000 copies sold) spanning 20 languages. He has predicted the winner of every US Presidential Election since 1968, giving him a remarkable 12 and 0 batting average. Hogue is a world-renowned expert on the prophecies of Nostradamus and other prophetic traditions. He claims to focus on interpreting the world’s ancient-to-modern prophets and prophecies with fresh eyes, seeking to connect readers with the shared and collective visions of terror, wonder and revelation about the future in a conversational narrative style. Hogue says the future is a temporal echo of actions initiated today. He strives to take readers “back to the present” empowering them to create a better destiny through accessing the untapped potentials of free will and meditation.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
John Hogue's new biography of Nostradamus is better than I expected - but not much. As a literary biography, it is much more literary than it is a biography. The 16th century French prophet's cultural and historical background is indeed extensively and lovingly described, but the rest of the book seems merely to consist of huge clouds of elaborate, typically Hoguean speculations about Nostradamus - 'he may have', 'he could have', 'perhaps', 'we can imagine that', 'it is possible that' - interspersed with relatively brief factual extracts from the seer's known life-story. Hogue (a self-confessed 'rogue scholar' - p. 124) starts his book by rubbishing the purely factual approach. It is a wise precaution. For, despite his frequent professions of scepticism, various of the usual hoary myths and Old Wives' Tales - the famous stories of the Wrong Pig, the Surprised Future Pope, the Lost Dog - are duly trotted out, as are the fake Prophecies of Orval. Hogue doesn't actually insist that they are all true. In fact he describes them as 'apocryphal'. But we are still left with the distinct impression that we really ought to take such undocumented later inventions seriously, or at least to consider them as possibilities. Otherwise why mention them in the first place? As a result, the newcomer to the subject is left not really knowing what to take as fact and what as fiction. And then there are his translations. I don't know where Hogue learned his French, but several of his most recent original translations of Nostradamus's prose in particular just don't correspond to any edition of the French originals that I have ever seen. Whole chunks are omitted without acknowledgement, whole sentences at best paraphrased and at worst misparaphrased. As for his translations of the prophetic verses, most of these are frankly grotesque, and some are not even in comprehensible English. Which leaves, I'm afraid, all the other fallacies and factual errors in the book. Here are just a few of the more obvious ones: · Nostradamus's secretary Chavigny (who wasn't mayor of Beaune - even though I, too, have made that error in the past) didn't start work in 1554 (pp. xv, 162, 165): contemporary documents make it perfectly clear that he didn't arrive until 1561. · No contemporary evidence, least of all in his own writings, suggests that Nostradamus ever supported the ideas of Copernicus (p.27). · There is no evidence whatever that his known expulsion from the Medical Faculty at Montpellier for having been an apothecary occurred before his enrolment for courses: in fact, the entry is undated (p.57). · Nostredame (as he then was) cannot have been lectured in anatomy by 'Dr.' Guillaume Rondelet (p.58), because the latter, a mere fellow-student of his, enrolled in the self-same year (1529) and didn't gain his doctorate until 1537, long after Nostredame had left. · He didn't Latinise his name from 'Nostredame' to 'Nostradamus' (p.63) at the time of his lavishly-described doctorate ceremony (of which absolutely no record in fact exists): it occurs for the first known time on his Almanac of 1550. · There is no contemporary record that he was ever a member of the Montpellier medical faculty (pp. 64, 67). · It is surely stretching it a bit to call Nostradamus's quoted prescription of no food at all for plague-suffers a diet 'sparing in fatty meats' (pp. 97, 370)! · Hogue praises Nostredame for 'healing so many people' during the plague-outbreak at Aix (p.106), despite quoting the Frenchman's own words to the effect that none of his cures worked 'any more than nothing at all' (p.101). In the same passage, Nostredame points out that bleeding was indeed tried, despite Hogue's resistance to the idea. And he certainly didn't say that his rose-pills worked 'for a month' - merely that they preserved 'un monde' (a whole lot of people). · Nobody in 1559 read verse I.35 as forecasting the death of King Henri II (p.181), and neither Nostradamus nor his adoring secre