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The Real History of the End of the World: Apocalyptic Predictions from Revelation and Nostradamus to Y2K and 2012
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The Real History of the End of the World: Apocalyptic Predictions from Revelation and Nostradamus to Y2K and 2012

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3.45  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  20 reviews
From the author of The Real History Behind the Templars--the origins and stories behind end-of-the-world predictions throughout history, from Revelations to 2012.

In entertaining and sharp prose, historian Sharan Newman explores theories of world destruction from ancient times up to the present day- theories which reveal as much about human nature as they do about the predominant hist
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Paperback, 313 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Berkley Books (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.45  · 
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Denny
The Real History of the End of the World is a decent, broad introduction to end-times prophecies, cults, and beliefs spread across a global range of cultures from ancient times through 2012, but the book is plagued throughout with errors in spelling and mechanics. Whoever edited this book did a piss-poor job.

I like the fact that Newman included footnotes to direct interested readers to plenty of additional sources. Some of her secondary sources are quite dated, going as far back as the mi
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Gina
Jul 05, 2010 rated it liked it
I thought it was going to only be two stars, but it started improving. Part of the issue was that there is a ton of material available, and she did not want to release something that large, so things are treated fairly shallowly. There are a lot of end notes, but they don't really add much. So you just dip along into everything very quickly.

The other issue, and the need for brevity could have been a factor, was that the tone often felt very flippant, and certainly that is easy to do,
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Jeff
May 14, 2010 rated it liked it
If there is one constant throughout history, it's the belief we are living in the end times
Nicola
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent rundown of all the predictions throughout time. A very interesting read.
g026r
May 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, non-fiction
Obviously inspired by the popular media obsession with the 2012 end of the world conspiracies, as asides mentioning that date crop up frequently, this work is a series of short articles covering different end of the world beliefs throughout history. It hits most of the main ones, though a few famous ones (e.g. Dorothy Martin's Seekers) are somewhat surprising in their omission.

In the end, just not what I was looking for. Like reading a series of blog posts, both in coverage of individual sub
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Deborah Markus
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Excellent. As Newman points out, "It may seem strange, if not impossible, to write a history of something that hasn't happened yet." But she goes on to do just that. Turns out people have been predicting the end of the world with great glee for a very long time, in what seems like every culture all over the world. A great book to give anyone whose theme song seems to be, "No, really -- this *has* to be it! Game over, man! Stick a fork in the human race -- we're done!" We all know someone like th ...more
Sheryl Nantus
Jun 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I'm always looking for good nonfiction books, and this is an easy read that should be for anyone looking for a nice light book.

This book goes through the various "end of the world" scenarios and religous concepts and puts them under the microscope - from the Egyptians who actually never had an actual "end of the world" concept in their religious beliefs to the Ranch Davidians to the Bible Code. And all in short, easy-to-read chapters that doesn't boggle you with footnotes or academia
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Jeff
Feb 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I wouldn't call it an in-depth study, but Ms. Newman gives a brief overview of many end-times theories, from major religions to minor cults and everything in between. She touches on the current events that influenced these beliefs and puts them into a cultural context rather than trying to explain them from a modern point of view. And she's got a terrific sense of humor. Recommended as a fun & interesting read for eschatology fans.
Jacque
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a thoroughly-researched overview of several millenial and apocryphal traditions throughout history. It's interesting to see the common themes emerge. I did find myself having to re-read portions to keep track of the names and references. From the perspective of understanding the present by reviewing the past, this is an interesting read.
Dustin
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Amounts to a brief history of a few dozen millennial and apocalyptic traditions around the world and throughout history, backed by solid research and leavened with dry wit. Recommended for history-lovers especially.
Jenny Robinson
Nov 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Easy read and great author. Goes through history with about 5 pages for each piece of history starting with Babylonians in 4000bc to Y2K and now 2012. I'm really starting to love history and with this book you get a little of everything.
66yoguy
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good read and interesting.

Author and historian, Sharan Newman, provides insightful information about various theories (from ancient times to present) about how the world is/was supposed to end. She provides detailed information, many references, and she writes with humor.
!Tæmbuŝu
Jul 15, 2010 marked it as to-read
Shelves: religion
Michael Mingoa
This book is about the end of the world and the early people who predict that the destruction of the world is at
december 21 2012
Thomas Simard
Jun 13, 2012 rated it liked it
A very interesting and well-written book. With apocalyptic scenarios now commonplace in movies and books, it's good for people to know they are nothing new.
Travis
May 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, non-fiction
Does what it says on the tin. This was an easy read, and it was interesting seeing how so many people throughout history have felt that they were living in the end times.
Kimberly Gonzalez
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
Did not finish reading this book. Liked the idea of it, but couldn't get through it. Not a bad book -- just not quite what I was looking for.
Joshua Long
Aug 10, 2013 rated it liked it
interesting read learned a few things I didn't know about the past.
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Sharan Newman is a medieval historian and author. She took her Master’s degree in Medieval Literature at Michigan State University and then did her doctoral work at the University of California at Santa Barbara in Medieval Studies, specializing in twelfth-century France. She is a member of the Medieval Academy and the Medieval Association of the Pacific.

Rather than teach, Newman chose
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