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  • By Daryl Peavy
    Dec 18, 2010
    5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting mix for mixed audiences, September 17, 2010 By "Teach" (Philadelphia, PA United States) - See all my reviews This review is from: Kings, Magic, & Medicine (Paperback) This can't be an impartial review, since the author is a friend of mine. Instead it's meant to give those interested in Benin a sense of what the book offers. It reminds me of the contributions of an author like the Edo writer Aisien, who has published extremely useful accounts of Edo scarification, the pilgrimage route, etc. Aisien is well-educated, but trained neither as a historian nor an anthropologist. The absence of an academic perspective or theoretical approach to his work cannot deny the usefulness of the information he has recorded. For those outside Nigeria, Aisien provides invaluable data; for those inside, he draws together material that may be familiar to some but has never seen print. Aisien is one of those invaluable sources--an intelligent "local... More > historian." Likewise, Peavy--trained as a lawyer with a background in anthropology--is not an academic author but, despite being an American, is, in a sense, also a "local historian." He serves several audiences, each with differing interests. These audiences will likely value very different sections of the book, due to the relative availability or unavailability of the information they consider relevant. For an Edo audience, Peavy provides a great service. The second half of his book looks at the medicinal highlights of the reigns of Benin's rulers, one by one. These are extracted and compiled primarily from various local sources, many of which are out of print and unavailable in Nigeria and the U.S. By concentrating on the medicinal aspects of each reign, Peavy provides an interesting perspective that underlines the importance of medicine's foundational characteristics. For the non-Nigerian reader with an interest in traditional African religion, the book's first section contains a handy compendium of Edo deities and religious practices, not easily accessible elsewhere in one source. For the scholarly reader, some of this material is familiar, but it contains nuggets that have not seen publication before. Peavy has studied aspects of traditional Edo divination and medicine for over fourteen years, first among the Esan and then within Benin City. Although the greedy scholar may be disappointed he doesn't expound even further regarding his personal experiences (an upcoming book is underway), the insights offered by descriptions of methods referred to in texts but never elaborated upon are priceless. While ominigbon and the adopted (and adapted) Yoruba Ifa divination methods are referred to by Benin scholars, they are not generally known. Other Benin divinatory practices have never received more than the mention of a name--Peavy is the first author I know of to discuss some of the particulars of ewawa and eziza divination (including photographs of the equipment); his data and insights in this regard are invaluable.< Less
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Product Details

March 25, 2010
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.89 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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