By Bob Trubshaw, published by Explore Books (Heart of Albion Press) 2003 at £9.95. 212pp. ISBN: 1-872833-62-1. (Reviewed by David Taylor)
What is mythology? How has it shaped our lives and how relevant is it today? These are just some of the questions asked by Bob Trubshaw in this new book. This is the second in a new series entitled "Explore" (the first being Explore Folklore previously reviewed in WD) published by Bob.
What Bob is extremely good at is taking a complex subject and condensing volumes of information into one easy to read and thought provoking book. By starting with the pioneers of mythology such as Campbell and Frazer to Jung and Freud, Bob shows the development of the subject both in its academic and its more popular approach. Most WD readers will be aware that Bob was the editor of Mercian Mysteries and At the Edge magazines, and so they will be familiar with some of the material in this volume as it first appeared in those magazines. This is not a down side; in fact it is good to have some of this highly original and thought provoking material all in one book. When reading this you have to admire the breadth of Bob's knowledge on the subject. From divination and mindscapes to the otherworld, Bob manages to cover it all. Without a doubt my favourite section deals with reports of black dogs and their association with the otherworld. Here Bob draws not only on the ideas of others but on his own unique research which provides some astounding insights into the mythology of canniness and dog-headed deities/beings. Many readers of WD will be familiar with reports of black dogs encountered on lonely moonlit roads. This section of the book is the best attempt I have read to try to make sense of the hidden meaning of these reports. This book is worth purchasing for this section alone!
Bob also delves into modern mythology and shows how we are all affected by it on a very deep level indeed.
This is an excellent book. I can't praise it highly enough. The only down side is that it needs to be bigger to expand on some of the themes and ideas given. Bob freely admits this, and has developed a website to continue developing these themes. It can be found at www.foamycustard.com. Everyone who has an interest in mythology, be it ancient or modern, should make sure this valuable tome is added to their bookshelf.