Exploring Gods of World Mythology Reviews

Exploring Gods of World Mythology: ISBN 978-1-6782-0732-8 / eBook: 978-1-6782-0735-5
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2024

A survey that offers a storytelling rather than instructional approach to timeless figures from many cultures.
Nardo adds another entry to his books on mythology, organizing his subject thematically to cover gods of creation, the sky, nature, war, wisdom, and death. (There is no chapter on love.) The introduction contains a concise and dramatic account of the Olympians’ succession struggle. Since myths are multivalent, there is some overlap: A weather-controlling sky god, like Ukko from Finland, might also be a dispenser of justice. Nardo skillfully selects from the abundant material to present key scenes, typically the liveliest and those with parallels to other narratives around the world. Although Athena makes several appearances, most of the deities here are male, and there is no mention of, for example, Gaia, Shakti, Kali, Freya, or Frigg. Nardo references several theories about the worldwide development of these stories (the word primitive is unfortunately used to describe ancient myth-making societies). A rare misstep is the mangled account of Tyr’s deliberate (not random) sacrifice of his hand, but most information is accurate. Selected Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindu, Celtic, Hittite, Egyptian, Babylonian, Sumerian, Finnish, Norse, Aztec, Igbo, Zulu, Polynesian, and Persian myths are included. Nardo occasionally supplies relevant bits of ancient hymns. Stock images, many in color, brighten the pages. Some of the references are quite recent.
A wide-ranging starting point that could inspire further acquaintance with these cultural treasures. (source notes, further research, index, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 12-16)