books that make you go hmmm...

Enchanted Europe: Superstition, Reason & Religion 1250-1750
by Euan Cameron

UK Release Date:  March 2010

SYNOPSIS:  Since the dawn of history people have used charms and spells to try to control their environment, and forms of divination to try to foresee the otherwise unpredictable chances of life. Many of these techniques were called 'superstitious' by educated elites. For centuries religious believers used 'superstition' as a term of abuse to denounce another religion that they thought inferior, or to criticize their fellow-believers for practising their faith 'wrongly'. From the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, scholars argued over what 'superstition' was, how to identify it, and how to persuade people to avoid it. Learned believers in demons and witchcraft, in their treatises and sermons, tried to make 'rational' sense of popular superstitions by blaming them on the deceptive tricks of seductive demons. Every major movement in Christian thought, from rival schools of medieval theology through to the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, added new twists to the debates over superstition. Protestants saw Catholics as superstitious, and vice versa. Enlightened philosophers mocked traditional cults as superstitions. Eventually, the learned lost their worry about popular belief, and turned instead to chronicling and preserving 'superstitious' customs as folklore and ethnic heritage. Enchanted Europe offers the first comprehensive, integrated account of western Europe's long, complex dialogue with its own folklore and popular beliefs. Drawing on many little-known and rarely used texts, Euan Cameron constructs a compelling narrative of the rise, diversification, and decline of popular 'superstition' in the European mind.

Pre-order at:  Amazon UK



  1. Sounds like a good one..I'd read it for sure.

  2. The cover alone makes me go "hmmmmm..." The book sounds interesting!

  3. Beautiful cover and interesting review. I may have to add this to my holiday shopping list!

  4. I absolutely love this cover!
    Thanks for the heads up, Amy!

  5. This sounds incredibly interesting; I love this kind of non-fiction books. Thanks for pointing it out!

  6. I'm definitely interested in this book, as this is one of the subjects about history that intrigues me. The painting on the cover actually depicts an episode of sleep paralysis. Back in the day they used to think there were actually demons attacking you while you were sleeping. There's an article on Wikipedia that shows this same image. I suffered from this until very recently when I learned a way to stop it. It can be very scary.

  7. That sounds impossible to do in the space of a single book.


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