The universality of the belief in hell is assumed, but its meaning and implications are not examined in this rather lighthearted historical tour of a place Dante, Jonathan Edwards and others have described in, well, hellish detail. While acknowledging that hell is a real and terrifying place for believers, journalist Crisafulli and documentary filmmaker Thompson seem more interested in hell as an ""entertainment vehicle,"" a ""not-so-real place"" where our foibles and frailties are resignedly recognized, and even perversely celebrated. In short takes, the authors leap through cultural history, from the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Book of the Dead forward to Buffy the Vampire Slayerp 14, 19, 2 8 and then back to Buddhism and Shinto,30ff and the text is dappled with amusing asides, including various celebrities' idea of hell (Bob Newhart: ""There would be a dentist-but no Novocaine."") and tidbits about a heavy-metal band called Hell on Earth and a Caribbean town called Hell. The authors' only sources on the vague Jewish concept of the afterlife seem to be a couple of encyclopedias and reference booksmarked in bibliography-which only underscores the light nature of this effort.