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Don't Know Much About Mythology by Kenneth…

Don't Know Much About Mythology

by Kenneth C. Davis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Don't Know Much About

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This was an audiobook and the reader was just shy of terrible. Every word he could butcher, he did. The worst was when he pronounced the same word multiple ways (eg. shaman: shah-mən, shah-man, shay-mən).

The book itself was really fascinating. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I go out of my way to read about mythology, but I must admit there are many mythologies that I'm just not very familiar with.

A critique on the book itself - the author really should have stuck with discussing the myths themselves and tried to get involved in modern controversial topics (which he did significantly with Native Americans and their myths). ( )
  benuathanasia | Feb 9, 2015 |
This book is an intersting blend of history and mythology--and really does prove that most of us don't know much about either! Each section of the book starts with a timeline of events for the part of the world being discussed (ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Americas, Pacific islands, and more) and then follows with information on the myths of each in a question-and-answer format, including a "who's who" of gods and goddesses for each region. Sprinkled throughout each section are "mythic voices", brief segments from sources as varied as the Bible, Egypt's Book of the Dead, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung that serve to renforce the primary text. Overall a fascinating book, it really is a bit too much to read in a short period of time. We listened to the audio version while driving in the car--it was well read by John Lee, though at times his British accent and slightly different pronunciations got to be a bit distracting--over about three months. Definitely recommended, though it is not for young children, as quite a bit of awkward explanations would be needed. Ancient myths are not at all G-rated! ( )
  beckymmoe | Apr 20, 2013 |
Very comprehensive, but very dense. Will require several readings to get familiar with the range of myths covered. ( )
  SymphonySil | Jun 9, 2012 |
Wow, this book is long. I mean, it's interesting, but there's so much information covering so vast a scope that reading it is like running a marathon. Each section covers a geographical region such as Africa or Western Europe, with the countries boasting the most well-documented mythologies getting the most treatment, such as Egypt, India, and Greece/Rome. Each section includes a timeline, a "who's who" of gods and goddesses, relevant quotes, and answers to common questions like "was there really a Trojan War?" Though many comparisons are made, there is no separate section for Judeo-Christian mythology, having covered it in depth in his other book, Don't Know Much About the Bible. Davis holds nothing back, describing a representative sample of each culture's myths in (often hilarious) detail. For example, I was surprised (and kind of disgusted) by how many creation myths involved excrement and other bodily fluids of the gods, and laughed at the tales of the trickster god's magical penis. The little asides and pop culture references were also often amusing. Though admittedly not meant to be a thorough compendium of mythology (and I would have loved for the "New World" section to have been much longer), it is certainly an excellent start. The writing is very accessible and has made me want to read more of the original myths, particularly the Norse and Egyptian tales. A word of warning, though: once you read the section on Egypt, you will never see the Washington Monument the same way ever again. ( )
  melydia | Feb 10, 2011 |
Imagine having a guy working with fine china while wearing boxing gloves. Davis knows his subject well but does serious damage to the product while he handles it. He seems much too confident that he knows why people believed like they did. He maintains a modern skeptical view of the existence of God. He can't seem to accept the possibility that there might be a real God and that some myths may be saying something about that. ( )
  SamTekoa | Feb 21, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kenneth C. Davisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raver, LornaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I want to know what were the steps by which men passed from barbarism to civilization--Voltaire
Throughout the inhabited world, in all times, and under every circumstance, the myths of man have flourished; and they have been the living inspiration of whatever else may have appeared out of the activities of the human body and mind...--Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
We have not met our forgotten ancestors, but we begin to sense their presence in the dark. We recognize their shadows here and there. They were once as real as we are. We would not be here if not for them. Our natures and theirs are indissolubly linked despite the aeons that may separate us. The key to who we are is waiting in those shadows.--Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
For my Muse, Joann
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"In the olden days"--that seems like a good opening for a book about myths--when I was about eleven years old, I could not sit still at my fifth-grade desk.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060932570, Paperback)

What is an Egyptian pyramid doing on the U. S. dollar bill?
Did a pharaoh inspire Moses to worship one God?
What’s a Canaanite demoness doing at a rock concert?

Since the beginning of time, people have been insatiably curious. They’ve asked questions about where we come from, why the stars shine and the seasons change, and what constitutes evil. The imaginative answers crafted by our ancestors have served as religion, science, philosophy, and popular literature. In this latest installment of the New York Times bestselling Don’t Know Much About® series, Kenneth C. Davis introduces and explains the great myths of the world using his engaging and delightfully irreverent question-and-answer style. He tackles the epic of Gilgamesh; Achilles and the Trojan War; Stonehenge and the Druids; Odin, Thor, and the entire Norse pantheon; Native American myths, and much more, including the dramatic life and times of the man who would be Buddha. From Mount Olympus to Machu Picchu, here is an insightful, lively look at the greatest stories ever told.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:38 -0400)

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Where do we come from? Why do stars shine and the seasons change? What is evil? Since the beginning of time, people have answered such questions by crafting imaginative stories that have served as religion, science, philosophy, and popular literature. In his irreverent a question-and-answer style, Davis introduces and explains the great myths of the world, as well as the works of literature that have made them famous. He tackles Mesopotamia's Gilgamesh, the first hero in world mythology; Achilles and the Trojan War; Stonehenge and the Druids; Thor, the Nordic god of thunder; Chinese oracle bones; the use of peyote in ancient Native American rites; and the dramatic life and times of the man who would be Buddha. Ever familiar and instructive, Davis shows why the ancient tales of gods and heroes--from Mount Olympus to Machu Picchu, from ancient Rome to the icy land of the Norse--continue to speak to us today, in our movies, art, language, and music.--From publisher description.… (more)

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