The Handy Mythology Answer Book

400p. bibliog. glossary. index. photos. Visible Ink. 2014. pap. $21.95. ISBN 9781578594757; ebk. ISBN 9781578595228. LC 2014013298.
RedReviewStarGr 6 Up—This guide to mythology is everything the title promises and more. After an introduction setting out the book's goals and an initial chapter outlining a working definition of mythology, Leeming delves into the mythological traditions across the world (which include African, Asian, Polynesian, Cletiv, Greek, Roman, and Native American), one chapter at a time. These traditions are covered in great detail, and the author examines the geography, history, and culture associated with them and highlights important figures and tales. There is a great emphasis on the influence of psychology on the study of mythology. Early on, the author discusses the work of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Joseph Campbell and how they brought the importance of mythology into academic circles. Leeming concludes by discussing the idea of the monomyth, or Campbell's concept that there are certain motifs and themes that are common to many traditions and that transcend individual cultures. The glossary, index, and bibliography make this volume an excellent reference source, and the appendix takes it further, offering lists of characters and stories that fall under categories such as "The Great Earth Mother Goddess" and "The Hero Quest" and the pages where readers can find them. This title is an ideal starting point for reports as well as an entertaining and informative read for interested students.—Heather Talty, formerly at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City

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