Book of the Dragon – Allen and Griffiths

Book of the Dragon
Judy Allen and Jeanne Griffiths
Quality Books, 1979

I was first alerted to this book’s existence via the Otherkin and Therianthrope Book List when I was looking for sources for the Field Guide. Orion Sandstorrm liked it, so I figured it was worth a look–and it was!

People may assume that because it has lots of pretty pictures that it’s not particularly in depth. On the contrary, the authors study the history of the dragon from Mesopotamia onward, covering the globe from China to Mexico. The dragon is explored as archetype, as cryptozoological beastie, as a case of mistaken identity, and as alchemical matter.

Common themes are explored, though the differences between various types of dragons are duly noted. The authors provide plenty of evidence for each statement they make in a clear, concise manner and discuss less common knowledge, such as Western and Eastern alchemy, in a way that even the newest neophyte can understand.

The illustrations are very well selected, and punctuate the text beautifully. Photographs and contemporary artistic depictions serve to bring the text to more vivid life. The text and pictures are balanced nicely, without the former being overwhelmed by the latter.

All in all, this is an excellent basic guide to world dragon mythos. The bibliography is worth plumbing for further research, but this is a great starting place.

Five pawprints out of five.

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