Religion and the Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas. An epic book. A huge book. A work of literature that must have taken a hell of a long time to compile. The main thing I got from it was a bibliography; the number of works quoted was immense, and it was unusual (in a good way) to find an academic author who could recommend good books on such subjects as magic, witchcraft and astrology – about which there is a lot of rubbish floating around the literary realm.
Dry in places (now I’m sounding like a weather forecast: dry in places, slightly overcast, possibility of showers later on in the day… tangent. Sorry.), but so rigorously written that the depth of study far outweighs the fact that certain parts of it take a while to read. Charting the history of Christianity alongside ideas of witchcraft, sorcery, spirits and astrology, with a focus mainly on the Middle Ages in England, it is an excellent book and one that should be on the reading list for any student of comparative religions in the history of England.