Don’t Know Much About Mythology
By Kenneth C. Davis
My Rating: 3 Stars
Continuing my efforts to read more non-fiction this year, I selected Kenneth Davis’ “Don’t Know Much About Mythology” as my next big listen. And boy was it a BIG listen. This audio took me forever to finish because it was so packed full of information. There were parts that didn’t translate well into audio, for example the timelines at the beginning of each section. But overall is was a great listen if not a bit long. Audio listeners may want to checkout the abridged version since the print book is over 500 pages which makes for an extremely long audio.
The book is broken up into regions of the world and Davis provides a brief history in a timeline format for each region. He then goes on to talk a bit about the history in a little more detail, often covering religion and political structure and any other societal factors that may have played a role in that regions mythology. Then Davis goes into detail about the major deities and some of the major myths for the region. He continuously links new Gods to other Gods in other regions and often points out similarities between Deities from region to region. I found it most interesting how societies often borrowed stories from other civilizations and how, as religion changed, new religions often incorporated old myth into the new religion to make the new religion more acceptable for the population.
Throughout the book Davis does a good job of giving an overview of world mythology. Some parts were pretty familiar to me but other parts were completely new and totally enlightening. I learned so many new fun facts from listening to this book and I was able to further my knowledge of myths that I truly thought I knew already. Toward the end, some areas felt a bit weak and Davis seems to go deeply into religion more towards the end than he did in areas like the Greeks and Romans, but he ties it all back together in the end.
Overall, this is a good overview for people wanting to learn a little about many different myths from all over the world. I’m interested in reading some of his other works since these “Don’t Know Much” books seem to provide a good introduction to areas of study that one might be interested in learning more about without having to take a class or read a text book.