Simon James,
The World of the Celts
(Thames & Hudson, 1993)

As many of us who want to learn more about the Celts have found, there quite a lot of books out there to be read. However, as a lot of us have also found, sometimes these books can be quite a chore to read, filled with long essays and confounding esoteric passages on abstract research and references. So, it was quite pleasing when The World of the Celts by Simon James recently came into my collection.

Straightforward and to the point, James uses a down-to-earth style of writing to amass evidence and speculation, delivering it in a way that is easy to read as well as compelling. Each chapter is broken down into smaller little subsections, and includes not only black-and-white and color photos, illustrations and maps, but also dialogue boxes and factoids outside the text as well.

And nothing is missed, from the introduction, to the studies of famous sites, like Hallstatt and La Tene, to the Renaissance and on into modern times. Every aspect of Celtic life and the Celtic world is brought forward in great detail. There are subjects on weapon construction, burials, metal and glass works, art, and home building; each section contains illustrations and pictures of various processes.

All in all, The World of the Celts is an entertaining and informative read that does not over-intellectionalize or dump just straight facts, but informs and teaches in a more direct, everyday way. This book has become one of my favorites, and most often re-read. I recommend it to any and all that are new to Celtic study, or are a very serious reader on Celtic things.

[ by Charlie Gebetsberger ]

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