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Don't Know Much about Mythology: Everything You Need to Know about the Greatest Stories in Human History But Never Learnedby Kenneth C. Davis
Synopses & Reviews
The latest installment in the New York Times bestselling Don't Know Much About® series — a magical journey into the timeless world of mythology.
It has been fifteen years since Kenneth C. Davis first dazzled audiences with his instant classic Don't Know Much About History, vividly bringing the past to life and proving that Americans don't hate history, they just hate the dull, textbook version they were fed in school. With humor, wit, and a knack for storytelling, Davis has been bringing readers of all ages up to speed on history, geography, and science ever since. Now, in the classic traditions of Edith Hamilton and Joseph Campbell, he turns his talents to the world of myth.
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 and popular 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. In a single volume, 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. For mythology novices and buffs alike, and for anyone who loves a good story, Don't Know Much About Mythology is a lively and insightful look into the greatest stories ever told.
"[W]ith his characteristic humor and charming storytelling...Davis ranges widely and with such sparkling wit through a broad sweep of myths, his survey provides a superb starting point for entering the world of mythology." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"[E]ngaging....[I]ntriguing and up-to-date perspectives....An accessible and informed guide to an always-fascinating subject, and an ideal reference for the general reader." Kirkus Reviews
"Entertaining and informative...recommended..." Library Journal
"Ken Davis is the high school teacher we all wish we'd had — smart, funny, and irreverent." Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible and Where God Was Born
"Whether you want a crash course on North American native myths or a refresher course on Gilgamesh, this book will provide a great read and remain a permanent reference manual." Dr. Maria Tatar, Harvard University Department of Folklore and Mythology and author of The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales
"I highly recommend this book." James Redfield, author of The Celestine Prophecy
"Davis not only presents an entertaining exploration of humanity's most sacred stories across many civilizations, he brings us face to face with our most distant ancestors who were driven by innate curiosity to explain life's mysteries. Davis’s book is a masterpiece. I couldn't stop turning the pages." Albert Clayton Gaulden, author of Signs and Wonders, Founder and Director of the Sedona Intensive
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.
Since the beginning of time, people have crafted imaginative stories that have served as both religion and science, philosophy and psychology, astronomy and biology. Now, popular historian Kenneth C. Davis explores the world of myth.
About the Author
Kenneth C. Davis is the New York Times best-selling author of Don't Know Much About History, Don't Know Much About Geography, Don't Know Much About The Civil War, and Don't Know Much About The Bible.
People magazine has said that "Reading [Davis] is like returning to the classroom of the best teacher you ever had." A frequent visitor to classrooms and teacher groups, Davis has appeared often on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, National Public Radio, and many other television and radio shows. He is a contributing editor to USA Weekend, which features his Don't Know Much About® quizzes on a variety of subjects.
Born and educated in Mt. Vernon, New York, he now lives in New York City and Vermont with his wife, Joann, and their two children, Jenny and Colin.
Table of Contents
Ch. 1 All men have need of the Gods 19
Ch. 2 Gift of the Nile : the myths of Egypt 51
Ch. 3 By the rivers of Babylon : the myths of Mesopotamia 115
Ch. 4 The Greek miracle : the myths of Greece and Rome 171
Ch. 5 An age of axes, an age of swords : the myths of the celts and norse 263
Bridge to the East 309
Ch. 6 The radiance of a thousand suns : the myths of India 313
Ch. 7 Everywhere under heaven : the myths of China and Japan 353
Ancient people, new worlds 393
Ch. 8 Out of Africa : the myths of sub-Saharan Africa 397
Ch. 9 Sacred hoops : the myths of the Americas and Pacific Islands 431
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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Mythology » Folklore and Storytelling
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