A Very Short Introduction

Paperback - 2010
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Who were the Druids? What do we know about them? Do they still exist today? The Druids first came into focus in Western Europe - Gaul, Britain, and Ireland - in the second century BC. They are a popular subject; they have been known and discussed for over 2,000 years and few figures flit so elusively through history. They are enigmatic and puzzling, partly because of thelack of knowledge about them has resulted in a wide spectrum of interpretations. Barry Cunliffe takes the reader through the evidence relating to the Druids, trying to decide what can be said and what can't be said about them. He examines why the nature of the druid caste changed quite dramatically over time, and how successive generations have interpreted the phenomenon in verydifferent ways.
Publisher: Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2010.
ISBN: 9780199539406
Branch Call Number: 299.16
Characteristics: xiv, 145 pages : illustrations ; 18 cm.


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Jul 25, 2016

Overall, this book is what it looks like: A very short introduction to the druids, who they were, and how they evolved over time. I have seen a few complaints about this book not getting into the details quite enough, but the author provides a further reading list. After all, this is only an introduction.
The style carries well and is fairly readable for long periods of time. The author doesn't try to cram too much information into a single chapter, meaning you can stop whenever you want and come back still remembering what you had read before.
The only complaint I would have is the lack of maps in the book itself. Cunliffe references several places that no longer exist on modern day maps (Gaul, for instance) and the logistics can get rather confusing without a visual aid.
Overall, this book was immensely helpful. Not only does it give a good starting overview of druids and how they have changed over time, but Cunliffe does his best to explain how he uses his sources and the careful consideration that goes into selecting them. This is a wonderful book for people who are interested in the process of deciphering history while exploring a topic of their choice.


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