A Short History of Myth: Book summary and reviews of A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong

A Short History of Myth

by Karen Armstrong

A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong

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Book Summary

This brilliant, readable synthesis of the history of mythology and the function it serves to humanity is the launch title of the groundbreaking publishing event, The Myths. "Human beings have always been mythmakers." So begins Karen Armstrong's concise yet compelling investigation into myth: what it is, how it has evolved, and why we still so desperately need it. She takes us from the Paleolithic period and the myths of the hunters right up to the "Great Western Transformation" of the last five hundred years and the discrediting of myth by science. The history of myth is the history of humanity, our stories and beliefs, our curiosity and attempts to understand the world, which link us to our ancestors and each other. Myths help us make sense of the universe. Heralding a major series of retellings of international myths by authors from around the world, Armstrong's characteristically insightful and eloquent book serves as a brilliant and thought-provoking introduction to myth in the broadest sense -- and explains why if we dismiss it, we do so at our peril.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

'Although the book offers no new perspectives or information on the history of myth, it does provide a functional survey of mythology's history.' - PW.

Comment: A Short History of Myth is the launch title in UK publisher Cannongate's new myth series featuring retellings of classic myths by modern writers - see The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood and Weight by Jeanette Winterson, also in this issue. It is not surprising that the reviewer from PW finds that this book offers 'no new perspectives or information' as its purpose is not to break new ground but rather to offer an overview of mythology as a whole in order to put the rest of the series into context.

The series, conceived by Cannongate publisher Jamie Byng, is being launched by 30 publishers worldwide this Fall. Byng (who incidentally is the brother of Georgia Byng, author of the Molly Moon books for children) estimates the series will be completed in 2038!

The information about A Short History of Myth shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Karen Armstrong Author Biography

Joe Pickering

Karen Armstrong, author, scholar, and journalist, is among the world's foremost commentators on religious history and culture.

She is the author of numerous books on religion, including The Case for God, A History of God, The Battle for God, Holy War, Islam, Buddha, and The Great Transformation, as well as a memoir, The Spiral Staircase. Her work has been translated into forty-five languages. In 2008 she was awarded the TED Prize and began working with TED on the Charter for Compassion, created online by the general public, crafted by leading thinkers in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. It was launched globally in the fall of 2009. Also in 2008, she was awarded the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal. In 2013, she received the British Academy'...

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