Book Review: Encyclopedia of the Unseen World by Constance Victoria Briggs

Encyclopedia of the Unseen World   by  Constance Victoria Briggs © 2010   Red Wheel/Weiser  ISBN:  978-1-57863-465-1   Paperback      285 pages    $19.95  (U.S.)

This book, obviously, is not intended to be “read” as much as consulted.  It is encyclopedic in nature and arrangement.  It is not, by any means, all-inclusive, although it is close to all-encompassing.  It is not restricted to the main-stream religions, and includes individuals who have experienced contact with the world beyond this one.

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of books like this, and I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened the cover of this one.  In the end, I was both pleased and disappointed with the contents.  The inclusion of many terms which will be unfamiliar to the vast majority of readers was a real plus.  On the other hand, the entries for various individuals often came across as being from promotional material provided by the individual and the organizations associated with them.

Weiser has had, and continues to have, a reputation for producing high quality books.  This one, in my opinion, is not one of their better offerings.  That is not to say that it isn’t any good, it simply means that it could have been better.  If the average offering from this publisher is a 8 (out of 10), this one comes in at around a 5 or 6.

It is a useful, general purpose resource for information concerning near-death experiences and beliefs concerning the afterlife.  While I don’t give it a whole-hearted recommendation, I do say that if you are interested in these topics, this a book which would be handy to have around for clarification purposes, but it is less valuable as a general Pagan/Wiccan resource.