Jan 25, 11
Read in January, 2011
Ugh. With each section I grew increasingly annoyed: by the hand-holding, the repetition, the sloppy writing and editing, and most of all by Bates's insistence on establishing a dichotomy in which the Christian baddies (those haters!) sucked all of the magic from the 'real Middle Earth'. A surprising reaction from a non-Christian, perhaps, but I'd like to think even — especially? — those sympathetic to popular magic through the ages can observe the march of history without vilifying those who disagree with us. The complicated relationship between Christianity and pagan religions has been pretty well established, and this book's target audience, I suspect, hardly needs convincing. Anyway, there's some fascinating material in here and it's an engaging if light introduction to the hodgepodge of cultures that helped shape Britain.