An Atlas of Afterlives: Discover Underworlds, Otherworlds and Heavenly Realms

Wide Eyed Eds. (Lost Atlases). Sept. 2023. 96p. Tr $30. ISBN 9780711280861.
Gr 3 Up–This book presents an overview of ancient afterlife beliefs from around the globe and is organized by continent, stating openly an attempt to explore “the many ways people have tried to answer these questions throughout history and across the globe.” Through diverse media, Rojanaphan’s artwork brings to life cultures and their afterlife beliefs. Continent maps have notes locating lands of the dead or present beliefs discussed in the subsequent pages. Hawkins attempts to answer comprehensively, but the summations are very brief. Overall, the information for cultural beliefs is highly compressed, simplified, and not always representative; Christianity receives four pages of dubious accuracy and the Jewish faith is ignored. The book concludes with a glossary of terms and an index; however, there is no pronunciation guide or sources, just a few “Books That Have Inspired Us.”
VERDICT Hawkins has taken on too vast a subject to be summarized so concisely without shortchanging cultures. Not recommended.

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