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  • A History of Magic, Witchcraft and the Occult

  • By: DK
  • Narrated by: Susie Riddell
  • Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Religious
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Discover the beguiling history of witchcraft, magic and superstition through the centuries and across the world in this stunningly audiobook.

A History of Magic, Witchcraft and the Occult charts the extraordinary narrative of one of the most interesting and often controversial subjects in the world - from ancient animal worship and shamanism, through alchemy and divination to modern Wicca and the resurgence of the occult in 21st-century literature, cinema and television.

Providing listeners with a comprehensive, balanced and unbiased account of everything from Japanese folklore and Indian witchcraft to the differences between black and white magic and dispelling myths such as those surrounding the voodoo doll and Ouija, this audiobook explores the common human fear of and fascination with spells, superstition and the supernatural. 

The perfect introduction to magic and the occult, it explores forms of divination from astrology and palmistry to the Tarot and runestones, mystical plants and potions such as mandrake, the presence of witchcraft in literature from Shakespeare's Macbeth to the Harry Potter series and the ways in which magic has interacted with religion.

The most comprehensive history of witchcraft available, A History of Magic, Witchcraft and the Occult will enthral and fascinate you with its lavish, accessible entries, whether you are a believer or sceptic.

©2020 Dorling Kindersley Ltd (P)2020 DK Audio

What listeners say about A History of Magic, Witchcraft and the Occult

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Revisited this book with a different perspective

Didn't like this book on first listening but decided to give it another go and found the content is more like a once over lightly on many topics. Some things are mentioned early in the book and then filled out in later chapters. Over all it's a good introductory book and gives a starting point if you want to do further research elsewhere.

4 people found this helpful

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Not for me

Well read and I’m sure there is an audience for this out there but just not for me. Reads like an encyclopaedia of magic lore.

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Beautifully Narrated, Thorough Content.

At first, the content feels like several chapters of facts and I was a bit lost, but upon finishing the book and re-listening, it makes wonderful sense, feels relevant to me towards the later centuries, and is in depth in many different cultures. I appreciate that the author has done much research and seems unbiased. The narrator has a clear voice in tone and accent. I would love more from this narrator!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-10-2020

Fantastic

A stunning overview of the history of witchcraft. From hoodoo to Christianity and every practice known to mankind, this book has it all. Thoroughly inspiring. The author (british) has fantastic pronunciation throughout, making it an easy listen. Not at all robotic or monotonous like some audio books. I highly recommend this to anyone that wishes to learn about witch and magical history.
I will definitely be listening to this again.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Richard Tol
  • 23-03-2021

unsuitable for audio

This is a series of lemmas rather than a story. There is lots of repetition. Too many headings break the flow. This works fine in print as a reference book, but not as an audio book.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-09-2021

Great until the end

The narrator is overall very engaging, though some of her pronunciations are a miss. Otherwise, the history is well researched and clearly presented in what is a short book covering an immensely varied topic of history and sociology.

my main issue is that in the modern section, the author makes the dishearteningly common mistake of thinking all modern magic practices are wiccan when that is simply not true. There is also a clear misunderstanding of what paganism is uniting them under a banner as if they are homogeneous beliefs when they are a loose collection of independent religions and only wiccans follow the wheel of the year, pagans follow the holy calendars of their specific faith.

A good reference book until the chapters starting with Wicca in the final hour-and-a-half.

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  • TCJ Amies
  • 13-07-2021

BORING BOOK ABOUT FASCINATING SUBJECT

This sounds comprehensive, but it’s so lacking in insight and style that it’s hard to experience it as anything other than a list of facts that are poorly attributed. Like listening to a Wikipedia article.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-05-2021

A brilliant little mass of information.

It comes hard and fast, with bitesize facts, points, names and dates, perhaps too hard and fast in fact, as more binding language and a slower pace may favour learning. One could just listen twice though. I doubt a better book on the subject matter could exist in the time achieved - a fascinating and impressively comprehensive worldwind of a global history.

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  • Tim J
  • 24-03-2022

Difficult to follow

I love DK books and read them a lot with my children. Listening to one is challenging however as the reader reads all the captions and (necessarily) jumps from text box to text box. Difficult to follow.

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  • J. Smith
  • 21-01-2022

Deep as a puddle

The problem with going from Mesopotamia to the current day in eight hours is that no topic gets anything like the time it deserves. Alistair Crowley? Covered in less than three minutes.

No sources, no interviews, no original research, this is like an extremely long, C grade high school report.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-11-2021

inspirations

I've realised now where all the references from Harry Potter come from. it's interesting to see how Misticism has evolved through time

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  • Frankie
  • 14-11-2021

Historical Reference Book

An interesting historical reference of witchcraft. The book seems to jump around between topics, with disjointed flow and some repitition. I think it’s the kind of book that you might like to dip in and out of, using the index to look up specific issues. It took me several weeks to get through, although it’s an area that I would otherwise find interesting. It appears that the author has no belief in either magic or religion so I’m surprised that she would choose to write about these subjects.

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