13: The Story of the World's Most Popular Superstition

Nathaniel Lachenmeyer, Author Running Press Book Publishers $22.54 (240p) ISBN 978-1-56858-306-8
Lachenmeyer (The Stones of Madness) uncovers the odd world of""triskaidekaphobia""--the fear of the number 13--in this sometimes amusing but rambling assemblage of myth and history. Lachenmeyer begins with the phobia's""golden age from 1860 to 1940 when Thirteen Clubs around the world assembled at tables of 13 to defy superstition that one of them would die."" Moving back in time, Lachenmeyer then posits theories for the source of this worldwide superstition. The result is multilayered and woolly: Primitive counting systems based on 10 fingers and two feet and in which anything beyond was infinite? The Norse myth of Baldur, who was killed at a banquet for a dozen gods that was crashed by the evil spirit (and 13th dinner guest) Loki? The annihilation of the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13, 1307? Lachenmeyer's impressive historical research and quirky survey of present-day triskaidekaphobic practices (e.g., missing 13th floors in skyscrapers and strange stock market behavior on certain dates and at certain price levels) provides a glimpse into irrationality and superstition through history. But the book is ultimately no more than""a hodgepodge of speculation and trivia about the origin and history of unlucky 13,"" a criticism Lachenmayer makes of an A&E documentary on the same subject. Illus. not seen by PW.
Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 212 pages - 978-0-452-28496-8
Hardcover - 226 pages - 978-1-86197-688-8
Hardcover - 212 pages - 978-0-670-04426-9
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.