Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Book of Magic - Review

I have always been fascinated by magic, whether in its use in fiction or beliefs about magic. As I read more popular science than anything (and because I was sent a review copy) I had got it into my head that this was a book on the practice of and attitude to magic from a scientific, analytical viewpoint - looking at what was believed and why they believed it. However, the actual book was very different from this, and I suspect it will only appeal to a very narrow readership.

What Brian Copenhaver does is to take a series of texts: biblical, medieval and renaissance (but no modern ones) that reference magic in some way and gives us a brief commentary on each (usually just one paragraph) before quoting the document at length. I am sure from a scholastic viewpoint this is useful and may even be important, but I really can't see why it is being published by Penguin in a manner that implies it is for a general readership, because it certainly isn't.

So unless you have the patience and the interest to read a whole string of obscure and verbose medieval documents, it probably shouldn't be on your to-read list.

If you are the kind of person for whom this should be on your to-read list, The Book of Magic is available from and

1 comment:

  1. ...interstellar travel (astronomy in schools)... It´s truth that religion is more "holy" things. Have to eradicate the lie that is religion from schools and put, finally, compulsory the truth which is the Astronomy from elementary school, so the good people of the Peoples of the Earth, once and for all free from the religious yoke, begin to rise their eyes at the nocturnal sky to contemplate the awesome spectacle of the Universe...then, goodbye religion and its lies. But...who will be able to do that?, the Evil Empire: religion, armies, monarchies and politicians...they unable are, of course. We have to do it because the World is not to be so, the World is like we do it...religion out from the schools!...(a Planetary Convention to create a New Humanism with dignified selected basic rules for necessary moral education of Human Being, and to select the true beginning of the Humankind´s more religious lying "2,015 a.c.". New Humanism (wheat)...religion (darnel). FUTURE NEW HUMANISM AND ASTRONOMY WELLCOME TO SCHOOLS. Come´s time.