Item description for Mythology for Dummies by Christopher W. Blackwell, Amy Hackney Blackwell & Rich Tennant...
Overview With cheat sheets and easy-reference charts, this book is a wonderfully readable introduction to gods, goddesses, and heroes from around the world.
Publishers Description Every culture and time has its myths. You might say that myths help us to understand people, since just like people they can be inspirational and beautiful, as well as cruel and violent. The main players in mythology are the original drama kings and queens -- they hang themselves in shame, poke out their own eyes, rule cities, and marry their relatives -- and the fun doesn't stop there If you want all the scoop on gods and goddesses, fates and furies, monsters and heroes from around the world, "Mythology for Dummies" is the Who's Who of mythological figures that you can't do without.
It's no secret that mythology can be confusing for anyone. From cultural hero Johnny Appleseed, to manly Odysseus, to femme fatale Aphrodite, and those pesky Cyclops running amuck on that faraway island, "Mythology for Dummies" covers all the bases, including information on: Greek mythologyHomer's Iliad and OdysseyRoman mythologyVirgil's AeneidBeowulfNon-European mythology
Also, this book will get you up to speed on the heavy stuff--like how mythology intersects with our lives, and explores the meaning of existence. Organized into chapters on specific topics, it breaks down the common types of myths and mythological figures, and offers plain-English explanations of how myths have appeared in cultures throughout the ages. You'll find what you need to know on these topics and many more: What makes myths different from legends and fairy talesGreek creation myths and those really ancient Greek GodsThe Olympian Gods (taller, younger, and better looking than you)The Greek goddesses (the fairest and the meanest of them all)Heroes -- made, born, and re-bornMythological places from Elysium Fields, to Atlantis, and XanaduRoman religion -- how it was begged, borrowed, and stolenYou'll also enjoy helpful features like charts comparing major figures, and a tear-out tip-sheet with a timeline of world civilizations. Whether you want to dabble in the wonders of mythology or get serious, "Mythology for Dummies" will demystify the subject, and show you how important myths can be to a culture. You'll never say, "It's "only" a myth" again
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Studio: For Dummies
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 7" Height: 9" Weight: 1.25 lbs.
Release Date Jun 7, 2002
Publisher For Dummies
ISBN 0764554328 ISBN13 9780764554322 UPC 785555107908
Availability 0 units.
More About Christopher W. Blackwell, Amy Hackney Blackwell & Rich Tennant
Dr. Christopher W. Blackwell is Assistant Professor of Greek, Department of Classics, Furman University. Amy Hackney Blackwell is a freelance author who has an MA in history.
Christopher W. Blackwell was born in 1968 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Furman University, South Carolina.
Reviews - What do customers think about Mythology for Dummies?
OK Mar 26, 2008
Like everyone else has said, it's an ok introduction to mythology. Covers mythology from many different societies.
Not impressed Jan 19, 2008
Bought this to help with a Mythology class and it was of no help at all - way too basic - would not recommend.
Considering the target audience, it hits the mark... Sep 14, 2007
In other words, given a book that announces its intention to appeal to those of limited intelligence proudly and plainly in the title, you can't expect the scholarship of a Robert Graves or a Joseph Campbell. *Mythology for Dummies* is exactly what it advertises itself to be; it's a loose and wide-ranging summary of world mythology that's easy to read, even if sometimes so much so that its dopiness sets one's teeth on edge. There's a fine line between simplifying a subject so that even the stupid will get it--and merely stupefying your readers with tedium and this book hops back and forth across that line quite freely.
The authors adopt an "entertaining," at times annoying chattiness, but, for the most part, come through on providing a sampling, albeit superficial, of the major mythological systems, focusing mainly on the Greek myths for approximately the first half of the book and then pulling back to offer a more panoramic and less-detailed view of Norse, Egyptian, Chinese, Mesoamerican, and Native American mythology. This book is probably best suited for kids and adults who want a quick refresher of stories they've forgotten--or confused--over the years. Who was Perseus married to, what were the 7 labors of Hercules? It's the kind of book that might fire your interest to read deeper into the subject, and, indeed, that's one of the stated intentions of the authors. A book of this size, covering a subject the size of world mythology, can't help but be the most basic of outlines. And this is exactly that.
Although there's no reason for me to doubt the accuracy of the information provided in *Mythology for Dummies,* the inexplicable number of careless typographical and grammatical errors in the text sure don't inspire much confidence. I mean, I'm far from a stickler for detail or one of those kooks who writes letters to publishers when a semi-colon is misused on page 159--but when the running heads on an entire chapter about Mesoamerican mythology reads: Latin America: It'll Tear Your Hear Out" when it's meant to read "Heart," you've really got to wonder. Did anyone give this book more than a cursory look before publishing it? It's a good idea to write a book "for" dummies; not such a good idea for it to be written "by" dummies. Perhaps they ought to come out with a volume called "Copyediting for Dummies" and read it themselves.
Anyway, these caveats aside, I give *Mythology for Dummies* a qualified four stars--3.5 would be more accurate, but the usefulness of this book, particularly for kids, kicks it up half-a-star, and Ive just consumed a satisfying lunch.
Creature Features Sep 26, 2005
This book might not be suitable for children under twelve. But it's still a good book because I like mythology. Some people will say it's a bad book, and will not like the pictures, but ignore them. My favorite chapter is the one about the ten mythological creatures, although I counted only eight. I like the details about the dragons, the phoenix, the sphinx, griffons, and Cerberus the Hound of Hell.
This book is good for studying mythology.
Don't myth it... Sep 6, 2005
'Mythology for Dummies' is part of the widely-read 'Dummies' series, and lives up to most of the expectations one might have of a volume in that series. It has the requisite cartoons, the various side-bar items throughout the text, and the the top-ten lists at the end - in this case, the Top Ten Places (which includes Vahalla, Elysium, Atlantis, even Brigadoon) and the Top Ten Monsters (Gorgons, Unicorns, the Sphinx, dragons, etc.).
This is a volume of mythology is not just classical Greek and Roman mythology (that which most people think of when they think of mythology). It does include these in good measure, but also goes further afield to include an overview of the main characters, stories and ideas of mythological constructs in cultures all over the world. These include some that are familiar and related to the Greco-Roman traditions - Egypt, ancient Mesopotamia, Celtic and Nordic mythologies. There are also those that are quite removed from this collection of pantheons - the Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Native American traditions of mythology are also included here.
The first section gives a brief overview of what mythology is and isn't. It doesn't go too deeply into the debate over religion (after all, one person's mythology might be another person's religion). It does give some insight into the purpose of such stories for the cultures that maintained them, and how we have come to regard such tales in more modern times. Mythology is not just about gods, goddesses and monsters, after all. Often there is a very strong human component in the myths, which can serve for ethical and moral instruction as well as inspiration. These are written in the witty style typical of the series - 'How to spot a myth a mile away' is one section title. Mythology is also shown to be not something exclusively of the ancient world - American myths such as Johnny Appleseed and Br'er Rabbit are highlighted as examples.
Some of the stories included here fall more under the category of 'legend' than 'mythology' in popular definition - the stories of King Arthur, for example, do fall under the category of mythology, although it is rarely assigned such categorisation for a host of reasons. However, the Arthurian legends are contained here (one section is entitled 'Sex, Lies, and Good Jousting'). The text also ventures into the delicate area of the parallels between ancient Mesopotamian legends and early Biblical stories - tales such as the Tower of Babel and the Great Flood bear striking similarity to many extra-canonical tales in the ancient region.
The prose is good and accessible, like most of the Dummies books. There are some graphics and line-art drawings, and the chapters are short enough for the typical reader to finish easily in one sitting. This is a fun way to learn the old stories, and relate them to modern times. I would recommend this book for adults with a general interest, and also for undergraduate students and even high school students who want a survey of the material.