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4.0 out of 5 starsHas a lot of important material cut from the videos; well worth a read
Reviewed in the United States on January 10, 2018
This book is the transcript of the Bill Moyers interview series, but also contains much good and worthwhile material cut from the videos -- and which is still not included in the 25th anniversary reissure of the videos. It's also valuable because in the videos Campbell is so charismatic, so charming, so entertaining, and so articulate, that it's easy to miss the fact that while he makes many claims for the value of myth in living one's life, he never justifies those claims. Even when asked directly for an example of how a myth helped him at some time in his life, he evades the question. Reading the book at one's own pace lets you really examine his words, and reevaluate them.
5.0 out of 5 stars"The Power of Myth" -- Absolutely Essential
Reviewed in the United States on March 31, 2018
Having seen the television programs in the original run and having owned the book for decades, I had a really good idea what I would be getting with this six-CD set. "Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth" is absolutely essential. The flaws to be found in this format are so minor that it would be embarrassing to nitpick over them. My goal was to get Campbell in something similar to the 1970s NPR "Reading Aloud" broadcast. What I got is better than that. Less comprehensive than the Masks of God books, for sure, "The Power of Myth" weaves in and out of Campbell's great works. Bill Moyers may appear to be out of his depth at times, but Campbell seemed to enjoy the conversation format and he seemed to enjoy Moyers' company. In Program Six, which was recorded shortly before Campbell's death, he briefly appeared to be a little less focused than before; and his voice trailed off a bit a few times. Easy to understand. Then he was right back in his best form. The "Power of Myth" CDs are well worth the money and well worth your time. I ripped mine to audio files and play them, from a flash drive, with the Grace Digital Wifi media player. This is as good as it gets.
Reviewed in the United States on December 17, 2019
I bought this book after watching 13 Hours because of the statement "All of the Gods, all of the Heavens, all of the hells are within you". I had heard somewhere that all religions point to Jesus, so out of curiosity, I decided to read this book. To make a long story short, Mr. Campbell equates Christianity to Greek, Egyptian, Hindu, and other religious mythology. Sadly, he fails to realize that the Bible is proof of the existence of God, as witnessed through Moses, Abraham, Jacob, etc. and the birth, preaching, miracles, death, and resurrection of Jesus as witnessed through his family, apostles, and disciples. I didn't find what I was looking for, and instead found blasphemy, denial, and dismissal. Good luck to mankind in saving itself!!!
5.0 out of 5 starsAmazing Insight from an Amazing Man!
Reviewed in the United States on January 24, 2018
Watched the PBS special many years ago which this book is based on and it was a mind blowing experience. Mr. Campbell was an amazing man and while I did not agree with some of his ideas, the vast majority were very thought provoking and insightful.
Mr. Campbell always amazed me in the way in which he spoke, it was never perceived as threatening or forceful and people who would normally throw a riot at the thought of some of his ideas would not only listen but engage in conversation. Amazing man and one of a few that I wish I could have met in person.
4.0 out of 5 starsPerhaps the Most Interesting Interview You Will Ever Read
Reviewed in the United States on August 28, 2020
“The passage to fulfillment lies between the perils of desire and fear.”
This book gives the reader a taste of renowned scholar Joseph Campbell’s spiritual depth, breadth of knowledge, and profound insights into life and humanity. It is an interview of Campbell during his last two years of life by the journalist and political commentator Bill Moyers (who is also a Baptist pastor with a Master of Divinity degree). Campbell was a master of comparative mythology, professor of literature, and the creator of The Hero’s Journey: the idea that many myths throughout history have the same structure (monomyth) which he describes in his best selling novel The Hero with a Thousand Faces. George Lucas credited Campbell's work as influencing the Star Wars saga in 1977, and since then many other writers and filmmakers have acknowledged his influence, such as Disney’s The Lion King, Richard Adams’ Watership Down, and Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon book series (which includes The Da Vinci Code).
I normally would have found 287 pages of interview to be exhausting to read (and at times I did), but this conversation was uniquely interesting. Perhaps for some, it might even be life-changing. I am glad that I read it for insights like these:
“The conquest of the fear of death is the recovery of life's joy. One can experience an unconditional affirmation of life only when one has accepted death, not as contrary to life but as an aspect of life.”
“One thing that comes out in myths, for example, is at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation. The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.”
5.0 out of 5 starsFollow your bliss - a lesson for everyone
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 21, 2020
This is possibly the fifth time that I have bought this book. I first came across it, and Joseph Campbell, in the late 1980s when his interview with Bill Moyers was televised. At the time, I was in my twenties, living in a very isolated house without mains water, electricity or a road, and in a bit of a mess. I watched this programme and as soon as I heard Joseph Campbell’s voice I knew that he was a teacher, in the true sense of the word, and that I would learn from him. The interviews spanned, what seemed to be, all of human experience and belief and I suddenly felt connected to something fundamental and true, explained by someone with compassion and intelligence. Reading it is certainly an experience of standing on the shoulders of giants and Campbell is a colossus. I remember being left with this sense after the programmes had finished being aired but, due to my circumstances, I couldn’t find out any more about them or the man who had been at the centre of them. Then, to my relief, a friend found this book which is the transcripts of those conversations. I have had a copy of the book since then, read it regularly and have given it to friends. As an artefact, it is a good book to hold and look at as there are illustrations carefully chosen to support the important points. I recently bought a copy for my son who was born 10 years later after I first came across it. He will no doubt find his own message within it and is already talking about the chapter about the hero’s adventure. When I talk with him about it and listen to the thoughts he has, I remember that all of us should be supported and encouraged to ‘follow our bliss’. Thank you, Joseph Campbell.
5.0 out of 5 starsI'd never heard of Joseph Campbell (or Alan Watts) until ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 22, 2017
I'd never heard of Joseph Campbell (or Alan Watts) until watching Elliott Hulse on Youtube who is a Strength coach /Strongman competitor who has embraced philosophy and a holistic lifestyle. Very enlightening but doesn't bring peace of mind. As Elliott says if your waiting for life to start at some point you'll run out of time.
Deeply insightful book that grips you from the very beginning. I had bought a paperback copy before and lost it. When I bought it this time from Amazon I was disappointed that it wasn't like small to medium sized paperback I had. Instead, it's quite large, the size of a colouring book.