From School Library Journal Grade 9 Up?What distinguishes Willis's work from the many other guides to world religions? In a word, personality. Alphabetically arranged encyclopedic entries note sources (not pronunciation), and provide cross-references. The volume's wide scope includes Norse myth, Mithraism, ley lines, Kwanzaa, and Merlin; Santeria, Hasidism, and Sufis are mentioned but not indexed. American orientation makes Mormonism's entry five times that of Jainism, Dwight Moody's longer than Mahatma Gandhi's, and John Eliot's longer than both. B.C.E. replaces B.C., but the Western Wall appears as 'Wailing Wall,' and Judaism's view of the Fall is missing. There is an entry for abortion but none for homosexuality, and spotty coverage of ethno- or primal religions (but sympathetic entries on Gaia, Ghost Dance, and Feminist Theology). Entries on the Benedictines and Ten Commandments are misleading, and the Archbishop of Canterbury should not be called 'Reverend Williams.' Nevertheless, this is a fascinating book because it is suffused with an individual mind. Entries are intellectually expanded by unexpected quotations and connections challenging readers to think or to smile. Many questions are raised and left open-ended. Willis has a distinctive voice, and a lucid and engagingly immediate style. He is especially enlightening on Buddhism and Hinduism. The occasional black-and-white photos and engravings are adequate, but the book's appeal lies in its lively writing and thoughtful, personal approach.?Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI Copyright ? Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Read more
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