"In this compelling and highly reliable study of the Druids, respected Celtic scholar Peter Berresford Ellis sifts through the historical evidence and, with reference to the latest archaeological and etymological findings, gives the first authentic account of who the mysterious Druids were and what role they played in Celtic society." "The Druids emerge as the intellectual caste of ancient Celtic society. They were the doctors, the lawyers, the ambassadors, the advisers to kings. They also had a religious function. Ellis describes the special Druidic training, their philosophy, their belief in auguries, and their intriguing origins. He also shows that the current "New Age" image of the Druids as benevolent wizards comes from a woefully inadequate interpretation of the facts."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (more)
This book looks at actual history and, while it can be tedious at times, is far more valuable than the numerous books on 'Druidry' that one finds a dime a dozen, focused more on the supposed mystical aspects. This book was more about what and who the Druids might actually have been as opposed to more fanciful views. An overview of Celtic society is given in the beginning, to set the framework for exploring this unique social caste and the Indo-European ties that bind them to the castes and culture of India.
Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, plodding as it could be at times. I enjoy learning about history and culture, being an anthropologist by training. There were only two things that really bothered me in regards to this book and I would offer the first as a caution to any choosing to read it. If you have no experience in puzzling out written Celtic, you will have a time in deciphering a great deal of the words. The Welsh I found easier to work with than the Gaelic. I usually enjoy such challenges, but here it got old rather fast. I also found the very last chapter on 'Reviving the Druids' to be very disjointed and not nearly as well constructed as the rest of the book.
A good read.