All entries for Saturday 08 October 2005

October 08, 2005

Book reviews

Writing about web page http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/education/courses/open-studies/n101.phtml

I'm going to try to continue what's been started here, with a series of very short book reviews, relating to the subject of magic (particularly chaos magic(k), when it gets going). This is a useful place to do this, and allows functions which other blogs do not (or not as easily).

I will try and mention "level" in each one – meaning, level of study. Ergo – level one, would be useful to someone in their first year of study, and so on.


A Dark Muse

Title:
Rating:
2 out of 5 stars

In theory, this book tracks the influence of "the occult" oon literature, art, science…

Needless to say, that's a slightly difficult task – by nature, and by definition, "the occult" is hidden.

Having said that, I enjoyed this book, and found it useful. There are times when the writer is more credulous than I am (I'm not at all sure I believe as much about some of the historical figures as he does), but not overly so – this is still within the realms of "read with some confidence".

For those who are new to the area, this book might assume more knowledge than is comfortable – for those who know the area well, the book will be vaguely interesting but will tell them little new. For those who have some background, but not much – it might just be a gold mine.

It has a serious lack, however, in not having an index – one must trawl through to find entries. Admittedly, these are fairly well marked but the lack of an index reduces the usefulness of the book greatly.

Level: Two.


Book review: Wizards: A History

Title:
Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

Interesting….

There's some useful information, moreso about the distant(ish) past than times nearer to our own.

Very much a broad brush approach, as it would have to be in a book of this length (222 pages) that purports to deal with ritual magic from "ancint times to the present" (back of book blurb).

As a beginning history of ritual magic, one could do worse. One might well do better but I'm not sure what book would fill that niche – because this is at least specific. Nothing to say against it, merely that it is broad brush.


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