The History of Magic

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"Breathtaking in scope... Full of fascinating discoveries John Carey, Sunday Times

Extraordinary, exhilarating, essential reading Francis Pryor, author of The Fens

Three great strands of practice and belief run through human history, science, religion and magic, As Professor Chris Gosden argues in this bold and unprecedented account, magic- the idea that we have a connection with the universe, and that the universe responds to us-preceded religion and science. It has been with us from the curses and charms of ancient Greek, Roman and Jewish magic, to the shamanistic traditions of Eurasia, indigenous America and Africa, and from the alchemy of the Renaissance, through colonial dismissals of magic as backward, to quantum physics today-where magic and science converge.

Drawing on his decades of research around the world, and with incredible breadth and authority, this timely history of human thought across thousands of years rightly shows the role that magic has played in shaping civilization.

Comprehensive and remarkable... Subverts essentially everything we are meant to believe'

Clement Knox, Sunday Telegraph

'Bold, gripping and arrestingly readable John Gray, New Statesman