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A Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for Your Child's Mind Paperback – Nov 1 1998
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About the Author
Michael O'Brien, iconographer, painter, and writer, is the popular author of many best-selling novels including Father Elijah, The Father's Tale, Eclipse of the Sun, Sophia House, Theophilos, and Island of the World. His novels have been translated into twelve languages and widely reviewed in both secular and religious media in North America and Europe. He lives in Ontario with his wife, Sheila, and family.
Top Customer Reviews
Traditional fairie tales expressed the influence the unseen world has on the world in which we live, but did so within the framework of a clear understanding of good and evil, right and wrong. Today's fairie tale is blurring the defining lines between these elements and creating a powerful, new (yet ancient) understanding that is degrading moral conscience and inviting young people to explore powers traditionally understood to belong to the 'dark side'. They even encourage friendship with any 'good' denizens of that dark side.
The original edition of this book was sub-titled "Christian and pagan imagination in children's literature." The second edition more clearly focuses on the immediate problem with its sub-title, "The battle for your child's mind." I read the original edition and was thrilled with the clear presentation of the dangers. This second edition is even more in-depth in its handling of the concepts and issues.
The reviewers of this book who speak negatively seem the rightful victims of the very forces exposed in the book. They give clear evidence of missing the point.
The point is not, "Are all snakes bad? Aren't any dragons good?" The point is that there is a malevolent mind, unrelenting, intent on destruction, at work at every level in our world, especially operative with tremendous effect in modern literature and visual media. To miss this point is to be a victim of the hypnotic forces of deception.
Those who read C.S.Read more ›
Mr. O'Brien does a great service with this book by demonstrating the secular and pagan influences in much of what passes for children's literature these days. He carefully explains the difference (for Christians) between acceptable and unacceptable fantasy in a clear and cogent manner (and he sets quite a high standard!)
Portions of the book could have stood more detailed analysis. I agree with a previous reviewer who suggested that the "Pern" series was given short shrift. I also disagree with O'Brien's analysis of C.S. Lewis' "That Hideous Strength". But these are minor points.
Of special interest to the homeschooler is the detailed appendix which provides literally hundreds of safe and age appropriate titles for readers of all ages.
All in all, a remarkable and timely book.
Unlike many Christian authors, O'Brien has not made the mistake of throwing the baby out with the bath water. He does not lump all fantasy literature together in one category and toss it out. He carefully demonstrates the difference between good and bad fantasy literature, or, if you will, authentic and inauthentic fairy stories.
I do have a few points of contention, but they are minor, and detract very little from the overall value of the book.
1) CS Lewis is identified correctly as an Anglican -- a member of the Church of England -- but incorrectly as a member of that church's Evangelical wing. Lewis, in fact, attended a "High Church" parish, and strongly resisted political factions within churches.
2) JRR Tolkien is correctly held up as the model by which modern fantasy and fairy story should be judged. Having said this, very little actual analysis is provided for Tolkien's writings.
3) Similarly, in the book's "blurb", Charles Williams is held up -- but then not analyzed in the text. An analysis of Williams would have made O'Brien's concerns about Lewis' novel "That Hideous Strength" make more sense. (I'd still disagree with O'Brien on this one, but his case would have been stronger and easier to sensibly defend.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Very helpful with its list of recommended titles, and very educational as to what to look for in books for our children.Published on June 29 2004
I not an "adult", howver, more sense comes out of my mind in a day than comes out of this mans head in a year. Read morePublished on Jan. 18 2003
This is book makes Catholicism look bad. Rooted in fundamentalism, this piece takes a stab at the first amendment of the US constitution and tries to claim that binary dilliniation... Read morePublished on May 18 2002
Michael O'Brien, author of "Father Elijah," now turns his hand to the theoretical side of literature - of Fantastic Fiction, in particular, in his worthy book, "A... Read morePublished on April 26 2000 by Emily Snyder
Michael O'Brien's work is all too rare. At first it is hard to believe that we and children are so vulnerable to the confusing attepmt to resymbolize good and evil in children's... Read morePublished on March 17 2000 by Jeremy Smyth
Mr. O'Brien's treatment of fairy tales, Tolkien and Narnia is interesting and informative. His list of recommended books at the end is very useful. Read morePublished on March 9 2000 by Sheila L. Beaumont
Much of Mr. O'Brien's book is very interesting, and he is correct that how we use myth and legend reveals a lot about us. Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2000 by Pat Reader
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