This book explores folklore as a serious adjunct to history, anthropology, and religious studies.All students of the past bump into what seem to be impenetrable walls and are left looking longingly beyond the barrier for the lore that seems hopelessly lost. This book is an argument that all of that information is not necessarily lost. It may just need a different approach - perhaps multidisciplinary, perhaps a new method, or maybe just with a new hypothesis for testing. Vanished societies have left behind masses of raw data, but it is up to us to discover new ways to look through these windows into the past.Especially in light of the growing relationship - and tensions - between cultural traditions and scientific inquiry, Lankford's breadth of knowledge, long-term engagement with the issues, and excellent writing style bring clarity to this issue. It is not an easy process, but it is engaging. Any puzzle-solver will find this sort of historical detective work worth the effort.
George E. Lankford is Professor Emeritus, Endowed Professor and Chair of Social Sciences, Lyon College, a nationally recognized scholar in folklore, anthropology, religious studies, and ethnohistory and author of Reachable Stars: Patterns in the Ethnoastronomy of Eastern North America.