I Am Taurus by Stephen Palmer

Brian G Turner

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One of my frustrations reading archaeology is how little archaeologists dare to infer what people believed in the prehistoric past. This is ironic, because every archaeological find requires interpretation and speculation in the first place. Additionally, books on mythology tend to focus on the matured stories in classical literature rather than examine their origins and development before this. Therefore I hoped a book dedicated to Taurus as a symbol might cover these issues, but was concerned that a book written with Taurus as a narrator might weaken it.

I needn't have worried - I Am Taurus is a fantastic book that doesn't simply explore the early and developing mythology of the bull, but also places it in a wider framework of early mythological beliefs. What really makes this book stand out is just how condensed it is - there's no waffle or padding, just straight to the literal meat of the issue. I was left feeling that I'd truly learned some profound truths about not just about the bull as a symbol, but the evolvution of mythological beliefs in general.

There are a few small niggles - a couple of sentences sounded more like abstract archaeological phrases rather than the living narrator bull Palmer aims for. The biggest criticism, really though, is that this book is just so short - if more time had been taken to encompass more cultures this book would have been a 5* must-have read for every archaeologist and mythologist. As it stands, it's simply a great and enlightening read.

Overall, a superb introduction not just to the bull as a symbol but early mythology in general, and filled with wonderfully rich insights into earlier peoples.

I Am Taurus is available at Amazon.
 
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