Sunday, December 18, 2011

"Spirit Stones" book review: Stonehenge and much more

It's been a little while since I've reviewed a book on Not A Ballerina but Dianne Ebertt Beeaff (goodness me, doesn't she have a lot of double letters in her name?!) has just published Spirit Stones and it is more than a little intriguing. A case in point: my practically non-book-reading husband saw my review copy the day it arrived and announced he would be reading it (not before I do, I announced back!).

The book's subtitle sums it succinctly: "Unraveling the Megalithic Mysteries of Western Europe's Prehistoric Monuments". Basically it's about a bunch of places with old rocks, but it's much more interesting than that might sound.

Spirit Stones starts off with a quick primer about the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, which I must admit I'd never been quite clear on before, and goes on to discuss the kinds of structures that were built in these ages, mostly out of stone but also of wood. (Quick cultural reference for Australians of my age: remember the band Things of Stone and Wood?!). Design-related issues like shape and colour get a mention too, and each section ends with a "Spiritual Fitness" section which is where the "spirit" part of the title comes in.

Castlerigg Stone Circle
The second half of the book looks at the reasons why we believe many of these structures were built - or at least the best guesses archaeologists, historians, anthropologists and everyone else have been able to make. Chapters cover topics like life, death, heaven, earth and religion and throughout are anecdotes and recollections about various stone circle, burial chamber and monolith sites across Europe (but mostly in the British Isles). The most famous one, Stonehenge, gets plenty of mentions, but there are numerous others and their descriptions make me rather keen to get back to Britain.

Very far from a travel guide book, this is for me a "read before you travel" book, something to inspire the destinations you might visit on your next trip and also great for giving background knowledge that will help you enjoy sightseeing and museum visits a lot more. It's not really like any other book I've read, but suffice to say if you like history and Britain (and big rocks), it'll be a winner. You can get more info on the book from the Spirit Stones website and I'll have an interview with the author coming along soon.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy for this post, but the opinions are all my own.

2 comments:

  1. I am such a big book worm!! I love reading - the Spirit Stones Stonehedge sounds like such a great read!

    Thanks for the review - looking forward to the interview.

    Cheers
    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're welcome Lisa - I'm a book worm too and if you combine that with something travel-related then I'm easily hooked!

    ReplyDelete

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