Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pagan Britain” as Want to Read:
Pagan Britain
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Pagan Britain

4.34  ·  Rating Details ·  88 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Britain's pagan past, with its mysterious monuments, atmospheric sites, enigmatic artifacts, bloodthirsty legends, and cryptic inscriptions, is both enthralling and perplexing to a resident of the twenty-first century. In this ambitious and thoroughly up-to-date book, Ronald Hutton reveals the long development, rapid suppression, and enduring cultural significance of ...more
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Yale University Press (first published August 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Pagan Britain, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Pagan Britain

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Andy
Mar 24, 2016 Andy rated it liked it
Shelves: history
So ive read this diligently for a while now & in the 4 page conclusion section it tells me that basically...... we don’t really have a Scooby about Pagan man before the Romans......

I wanted to like it more.... I really did as a lot of research & effort & thought has gone into writing this but........

I feel slightly tricked as Ive not discovered anything amazing & revealing from reading this book about Pagan Britain from times before the Romans as I didn’t really count the Roman b
...more
Tim Pendry

This may not be the definitive text on paganism in Britain before and during the Christian era but it is not going to be easily bettered in terms of grand narrative.

Hutton's approach, not at all unsympathetic to the way we all imaginatively reconstruct the world out of slender evidence, is highly sceptical of academic claims to know very much about paganism.

Until we reach the historical record, imperfectly represented for Roman evidence and only becoming clearer during the Middle Ages, what we h
...more
Melissa
I am quite impressed by the amount of research that clearly went into writing this book, and I love Hutton's ability to present multiple interpretations of data without trash talking any one view in particular, while still making clear the difficulties in relying on one interpretation versus another based on the available evidence.

What is so frustrating, though, is that because of the limited evidence and the impossibility of ever knowing for certain which interpretation is most accurate, I fel
...more
Bettie☯
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ marked it as wish-list
Spotted in The Guardian. To seek the best deal...
Matthijs Krul
Oct 30, 2016 Matthijs Krul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic book. One learns more from one book by Ronald Hutton than from a whole library of folklorism and 'esoterica', and that is particularly true for this book. It's 400 dense pages in which Hutton with his typical flair and clarity discusses the archaeological, textual, and symbolic evidence about paganism in Britain. This book retains Hutton's characteristic union of extremely solid historiography and scientific discussion with a personal sympathy for the validity of mystical, ...more
Marks54
Aug 16, 2015 Marks54 rated it really liked it
This is a fine book, even if it is a bit of a slog. My interest in the book came from wanting to prepare for a trip to northern England that would include some sites from a very long time ago - Hadrian's Wall, Lindisfarne, etc.. So I wanted to find a book that summed up the current state of research on Pagan Brittain but which will not come across as being as complex and inaccessible as the ultra technical materials that are often associated with specific study projects around iron age buildings ...more
Peter Dunn
Sep 19, 2014 Peter Dunn rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books where you learn something new on every second page, and the pages in between those each give you pause for thought. The main thing you learn is that many of the commonly held assumptions about this topic are simply wrong, and that much assumed ancient pagan practice or evidence has in fact a much younger pedigree. Still I do like the way that while he politely and painstakingly unpicks the supposed deep history of many of these things that he still leaves space for ...more
Nicola Bugg
Jun 03, 2014 Nicola Bugg rated it really liked it
This book was well written, and clearly the result of an awful lot of research. It was slightly disappointing, as the main conclusion is that there is very little solid evidence for any pagan religion! However, this is not really the fault of the book/author, but an honest reflection of the available evidence. It just didn't make for as riveting a read as I had hoped!

For me, the most interesting parts of the book were the initial discussion of the very earliest evidence of pagan Britain, and the
...more
Ciaran Mcgrath
Oct 20, 2015 Ciaran Mcgrath rated it really liked it
More than just an overview of Paganism through the history and prehistory of Britain (Ireland is occasionally touched on), this is also a thorough consideration of how the experts and amateurs interpret the evidence available. The wealth of material discussed is fascinating, but equally impressive is the author's willingness to highlight where interpretation and wishful thinking stand in for evidence.
Maya
Dec 17, 2014 Maya rated it it was ok
Shelves: celtic-history
Hutton is usually a hit or miss for me and this book was definitely a miss. I just found my self skipping parts and skimming others. Will probably never read this book again.
Mary Catelli
A rather academic survey of all that is known. Much discussion of the evidence and how it can be interpreted.
Mitchell Allen II
Mitchell Allen II rated it really liked it
Sep 19, 2015
Kim Wilkins
Kim Wilkins rated it really liked it
Apr 20, 2014
Antonomasia
Antonomasia rated it it was amazing
Aug 06, 2016
Ysabel
Ysabel rated it really liked it
Feb 10, 2016
Becca Harris
Becca Harris rated it really liked it
May 05, 2014
Hilary Fawcett
Hilary Fawcett rated it really liked it
Oct 18, 2014
Susanna Forrest
Susanna Forrest rated it it was amazing
Jan 27, 2015
Jakov
Jakov rated it really liked it
Jul 22, 2016
Tony
Tony rated it it was amazing
Oct 10, 2014
Angela Snee
Angela Snee rated it really liked it
May 21, 2015
Mark Morse
Mark Morse rated it really liked it
Sep 13, 2015
Johnny
Johnny rated it really liked it
Mar 08, 2014
Annarella
Annarella rated it it was amazing
Jan 09, 2015
Peter Stockinger
Peter Stockinger rated it it was amazing
Aug 13, 2014
Amanda B
Amanda B rated it it was amazing
Dec 12, 2015
Marcus Rodriguez
Marcus Rodriguez rated it really liked it
Feb 09, 2016
Fiona Carson
Fiona Carson rated it it was amazing
Jun 09, 2016
Lily
Lily rated it really liked it
Mar 16, 2016
Jennie
Jennie rated it really liked it
Mar 28, 2016
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Art Museum
  • Forbidden Faith: The Secret History of Gnosticism
  • Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity
  • On Power
  • The Red Goddess
  • A History of Pagan Europe
  • Animism: Respecting the Living World
  • Nine Worlds of Seid Magic: Ecstasy and Neo-Shamanism in North-European Paganism
  • An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo
  • Civilizations: Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature
  • Grimoires: A History of Magic Books
  • The Dancing Goddesses: Folklore, Archaeology, and the Origins of European Dance
  • Druid Mysteries: Ancient Wisdom for the 21st Century
  • Invisible Romans
  • The Secret State: Whitehall and the Cold War
  • Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic
  • The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art
  • The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual
Ronald Hutton (born 1953) is an English historian who specializes in the study of Early Modern Britain, British folklore, pre-Christian religion and contemporary Paganism. A professor of history at the University of Bristol, Hutton has published fourteen books and has appeared on British television and radio.
More about Ronald Hutton...

Share This Book