The latest installment in the New York Times bestselling Don't Know Much About® series -- a magical journey into the timeless world of mythology
It has been fifteen years since Kenneth C. Davis first dazzled audiences with his instant classic Don't Know Much About® History, vividly bringing the past to life and proving that Americans don't hate history, they just hate the dull, textbook version they were fed in school. With humor, wit, and a knack for storytelling, Davis has been bringing readers of all ages up to speed on history, geography, and science ever since. Now, in the classic traditions of Edith Hamilton and Joseph Campbell, he turns his talents to the world of myth.
Where do we come from? Why do stars shine and the seasons change? What is evil? Since the beginning of time, people have answered such questions by crafting imaginative stories that have served as religion, science, philosophy, and popular literature. In his irreverent and popular question-and-answer style, Davis introduces and explains the great myths of the world, as well as the works of literature that have made them famous. In a single volume, he tackles Mesopotamia's Gilgamesh, the first hero in world mythology; Achilles and the Trojan War; Stonehenge and the Druids; Thor, the Nordic god of thunder; Chinese oracle bones; the use of peyote in ancient Native American rites; and the dramatic life and times of the man who would be Buddha.
Ever familiar and instructive, Davis shows why the ancient tales of gods and heroes -- from Mount Olympus to Machu Picchu, from ancient Rome to the icy land of the Norse -- continue to speak to us today, in our movies, art, language, and music. For mythology novices and buffs alike, and for anyone who loves a good story, Don't Know Much About® Mythology is a lively and insightful look into the greatest stories ever told.
What is a myth? How does it differ from legend, fairy tale and allegory? Do myths cross cultures? Davis (Don't Know Much About the Civil War) answers these and many other questions with his characteristic humor and charming storytelling. He examines the myths created by societies ranging from Egypt, Greece and Rome to Africa, India and the Americas, proceeding, as in his other books, by way of question and answer as he surveys each mythmaking culture. A who's who for each culture is also helpful. He shows the connections between myths of various cultures, such as the flood story of Noah in Genesis and that of the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilsh. Among the questions and answers, Davis intersperses "mythic voices" from characters in the stories so readers can virtually hear the heroes of bygone eras. Because Davis ranges widely and with such sparkling wit through a broad sweep of myths, his survey provides a superb starting point for entering the world of mythology.