BOOK REVIEWS

See what others are saying about Hydromythology and the Ancient Greek World:

American Library Association - CHOICE
Journal of Folklore Research
National Speleological Society
Indiana Karst Conservancy
British Cave Research Association
British Cave Research Association (response)
Southwest Hydrology
International Water History Association (forthcoming)

CHOICE Magazine: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries
A publication of the American Library Association
Vol. 46, No. 10, June 2009
Review by Dr. Ira Sasowsky, University of Akron

Excerpts: This book is a unique, readable exploration of the relationship between myths (history) from the ancient Greek world and present-day understanding of karst landscapes and related processes…The author takes readers on a wandering path through various places, times, and events, all the while bringing forth possible connections of the history and legends to the geology…Although the connections drawn in this work may be conjectural in part, they are fascinating…The book should be intriguing to the engaged layperson as well as the professional…

Hydromythology and the Ancient Greek World is not a textbook, but it might be suitable for a cross-disciplinary class involving classics and geoscience…It is recommended for upper-division undergraduates, professionals and practitioners, and general readers.

Journal of Folklore Research
A publication of Indiana University
Review posted March 23, 2009
< www.indiana.edu/~jofr >
Review by Dr. Adrienne Mayor, Stanford University

Excerpts: Hydromythology is a promising new aspect of geomythology…Many sections of Hydromythology make for interesting reading… But Clendenon’s nuggets of genuine scientific interest are difficult to ferret out amid many reinventions of the wheel…Despite the author’s original thinking, specialized scientific knowledge, and extensive research, the lack of clear focus, organization, and documentation means that it cannot serve as a sourcebook for scientists and scholars….It is a pity the author did not propose this promising topic to a university or scientific press for peer review and editing.

NSS News
A publication of the National Speleological Society
Vol. 67, No. 8, August 2009, Page 28
Review by Ms. Pat Kambesis, Western Kentucky University

Excerpts: Clendenon makes some interesting interpretations with respect to Greek karst and hydromyths…The book content seems to be well-researched…At the end of the book is a section with maps which is really helpful for following the historical and geographic locations…However, a bit of peer review, standard citing of references, and a full bibliography would have made this book a good resource for “classicists, hydrologists, environmentalists, marine scientists, hydrogeologists, speleologists, and karstologists” as listed on the back cover summary.

IKC Update
A publication of the Indiana Karst Conservancy
No. 94, September 2009, Page 15
Review by Ms. Salisa Lewis, Lewis & Associates LLC

Excerpts: Strange events from antiquity that were explained by myth about water and caves are now explained “by applying the principles of earth science”…Cindy Clendenon, an Indiana native and graduate of Indiana University, links ancient myth with natural geologic features…Clendenon’s scientific knowledge and experience lends an original interpretation to classic Greek mythology…The glossary, index, and included references to sites with more information are both helpful and suggest further investigation by the individual according to his own interests…Hydromythology is an entertaining, thought-provoking read.

Cave and Karst Science
Transactions of the British Cave Research Association
Vol. 35, No. 3, 2009, Page 120
Review by Dr. Trevor Shaw, Postojna, Slovenia

Excerpts: The subject of this book—what was known of karst in the ancient Greek civilization and how its features were regarded—is of potential interest to all of us…For karstic readers, its core is undoubtedly the 58-page section on myths in which European karst plays a part...The author says: “I explain why aspects of these myths figuratively yet accurately represent the karstic landscape”…

The author has the double problem of explaining karst to students of mythology, and making karstic readers aware of how myths came to be and their relevance to real life and real terrain…What worries this reviewer is the extent to which supposition and hypotheses are presented…Greek myths are better covered by Robert Graves, and ancient Greek writings on caves are summarized, with references, in the standard histories of cave science.

Cave and Karst Science
Transactions of the British Cave Research Association
Vol. 36, No. 1, 2009 (published in 2010), Page 29
Response to Trevor Shaw’s Book Review
Response by Cindy Clendenon

Excerpts: At best, other books on Greek mythology allude sporadically to the characteristics and uses of springs, or to the general presence of so-called “underground rivers” in karstic settings…But not one book on mythology attempts to integrate selected myths systematically with hydrogeological contexts in general, and karstic contexts in particular…Hydromythology strives to fill this gap…

The validity of rational speculation has never hinged on whether the theorist admits to the joy of intellectual pursuit, but on whether the proposition withstands scientific scrutiny…As hydrogeological aspects of ancient myths are examined in the field by earth scientists, archaeologists, anthropologists, and water historians, researchers will be able to tease apart physical evidence from informed supposition...Given the worldwide occurrence of myths, water, and karst, this approach might eventually contribute to discoveries in and beyond the Mediterranean region.

Excerpts of Editorial Postscript from Trevor Shaw: Thank you for Cindy Clendenon’s courteous response, which takes the opportunity to emphasize the importance of hydromythology, with which I do not disagree…I am happy with the response as a whole, and I think it is rounded off particularly well.

Southwest Hydrology
A publication of SAHRA, University of Arizona
(Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas)
November-December 2009, Pages 39-40
Review by Dr. Richard J. Heggen, University of New Mexico

Excerpts: Clendenon makes a compelling case that hydrology underpins many stories we perhaps thought baseless…The book’s uniqueness isn’t on the science side: Clendenon’s contribution lies in her thesis that the Mediterranean environments of disappearing and reappearing rivers and catastrophic geomorphology shaped the Western roots of the supernatural….Myth has genesis—in this case, one that’s significantly hydrologic….The book catalogs Hellenistic mythology related to phenomena such as earthquake-triggered karst collapses, lake-swallowing sinkholes, sub-seabed freshwater transport, tsunamis, altered shorelines, and lakes of fire…

The strength of water resources as a discipline comes from its multidisciplinary nature. Isn’t it time to welcome the classicists? Or the other way around, isn’t it time for scholars of the humanities to acknowledge that earth science might provide some context?