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.
©2005 Kenneth C. Davis; (P)2005 Random House, Inc.
"Ranges widely and with such sparkling wit....A superb starting point for entering the world of mythology." (Publishers Weekly)
Why did'nt our history teachers make it this interesting? Very engrossing book, covers not just the basics of mythology but why it enthralls us such. We are teased with the man behind the myth story telling method though he never quite finishes what he starts. Not only a history lesson but an indepth look at how these stories from the past have shaped both or present and future outlook on life. Truly entertaining.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
For a long time, I was fascinated about mythology in general but didn't know where to start. Most published works cover only one mythology, or only a part of it. This book is an excellent compilation of the most important mythologies put together in a very approachable and fascinating way.
Not only does it go through the most important points and beliefs of each mythology, but often compare and contrast them with one another, as well as will religious teachings (Noah's Ark and the Flood being the most common among all mythologies.)
If you're planning to buy this book, I suggest you get the unabridged version. Highly recommended.
The book starts out great - not what I expected. It gives a history of the region (Greece, Rome, Africa, Americas, etc.) then gives some of the more popular beliefs and myths. Well done. But, wow - does he get on a soap box concerning the Americas. It really gets old and soures an otherwise good listen.
I was really looking for a book on GREEK mythology, but this was very enlightening as it expanded the Mythology of the WHOLE WORLD. Egyption, Native Indian, you name it.
I could listen to John Lee read the phone book! Of course listening to him read this Superbly well done material is much more instructive.
The use of BCE, btw, has become more common and while it may be more "PC", I, for one, prefer it to BC.
I really enjoyed "Don't Know Much About History," so I thought I would go through the series, but this book was not as good. I did not enjoy the reader. I found his accent distracting and lacking in emotion.
The first half of the book seemed pretty good. I followed the structure and could understand the links (maybe because I more familiar with the material). The second half seemed muddled. I found myself not wanting to turn on my MP3 player because I new what was waiting for me.
If you really like myths, this might be a good book, but if you only have a passing interest, I might try something else.
I really enjoyed learning new and surprising things, but those were few and far between in this book. I don't like how this book just throws a bunch of information at your head, without really organizing it in a meaningful way. At times it's really laborious and about as exciting as an almanac or phone book of mythology rather than something you actually want to listen to. This is an excellent book for those who absorb copious amounts of information for fun, but not for those who also expect some entertainment or thoughtful analysis. If you know just the basics of mythology its going to be a really long wordy recap.
I am really discouraged, because he seems to me to just catalog information. I can go to wikipedia for that.
It was read to fast for my brain. I had to o back the moment my attention lapsed.
Not really. But I came away with a few good morsels.
I am not sure I am going to finish it all the way. I am about 90% through, carried by the hope it might get better.
I really liked this and have been recomending to all my friends. I learned so much about the history of so many cultures and their myths there were areas I wish had been covered a bit beter but all in all a great overview
I like to read but listening is better.
I have always enjoyed Davis' "Don't Know Much About Books." I realize they are designed to be overviews/introductions but I feel like they are occasionally much more in depth than you might expect.
This wasn't my favorite Davis book, but that's not totally fair to the review because it was partially due to the reader not paying attention to what he was selecting. For some reason I was thinking that this was going to be--more or less--don't know much about Greek/Roman mythology. I've been studying Ancient Rome/the Roman Empire recently and was thinking that it wouldn't be a bad idea to read a Davis book about the gods and myths.
Not that it had to be all Greek/Roman; essentially I was hoping that this book would give me an overview of the most well known gods and myths. In some ways this book does do that. The sections on Greek/Roman and Norse gods and myths are extensive. But this is an overview of the mythology of many, many different cultures. While I found all of those reviews to be interesting, it wasn't really what I was looking for.
Generally this book was reasonably entertaining if poorly reasearched in parts. For example St. George most certainly is not the patron saint of Britain. However the pronounciation is appalling. In particular the Irish pronounciation was so bad as to be offensive, how much effort does it take to get this right? I'd say not much especially seeing the narrator John Lee claims a hint of an Irish brougue to his speaking voice in his promotional blurb.
Beware repetition of anything you hear on this audiobook.
"don't know much? you will after listening to this!"
This book is really intetresting. It is well read and draws you into the amazing world of mythology. There are explainations of why we need myths and of myths from all around the world. The book begins with a disclaimer stating that it does not cover many areas of mythology. This amazes me as it is so comprehensive that I cannot begin to imagine what can be missing. The book takes you on a journey around the world and conjures up pictures of many gods and heroes and their adventures, as made up by human beings from the beginning of time. Whatever you pay for this book it is worth it. I have listened to it about 5 times and still can listen again and not get bored. Its one of those books that you get upset about at the end because you don't know what you can possibly listen to next that will interest you as much. Reccomended buy.
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