There’s a genial review of my book ‘Zombies From History’ on The Spooky Isles site. “Holder’s humour and writing style is very engaging,” apparently. The book serves as “an excellent and entertaining introduction to famous
historical figures” as “he hammers home facts which you may not forget in a hurry.” Oh, and “The illustrations are also rather amusing and really well done.”
And the reviewer, a former sociology student, appreciated the joke about a resurrected Karl Marx leading the
Living Dead faction of the anti-capitalism movement with the slogan “Zombies of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your brains”.
The full review is here. And ‘Zombies from History: A Hunter’s Guide’, the definitive work on what do do when the
historic dead return during the zombie apocalypse, can be purchased on that there Amazon for ready money here.
I was particularly pleased that the reviewer singled out the quality of the bibliographies:
“One of my old college lecturers once joked that if he had his way, the grade of any publication would be based on the size of the bibliography. Using this method alone would guarantee Haunted Dundee came top of the class, and fortunately Geoff Holder’s writing style ensures he deserves to be there.”
As I tend to bang on about the deficiencies of many paranormal books when it comes to their ‘critical apparatus’ – bibliographies, references, indexes and so on – it’s pleasing to find that someone else shares my opinion that proper books deserve proper documentation within their pages. In many cases, the phrase “no bibliography or index” sends a chill down my spine, as all-too-often it carries the unstated implication: “the book under review is a pile of poo…”
Yes it’s immodesty time today. One of my correspondents from the USA recently posted the following 5-star review of The Guide to Mysterious Loch Ness and the Inverness Area on Amazon, and as it is exactly what I’m seeking to achieve when connecting with an audience, I thought I’d reproduce it here.
My thanks to Jeromy Van Paassen.
The most comprehensive book on Loch Ness folklore, 6 Sep 2011
By Jeromy Van Paassen
This review is from: The Guide to Mysterious Loch Ness and the Inverness Area (Mysterious Scotland) (Paperback)
I purchased The Guide to Mysterious Loch Ness and the Inverness Area while my wife and I were visiting Urquhart Castle and I was immediately amazed at the density of the material inside this fantastic book. I have a degree in Anthropology and am deeply interested in both archaeology and folklore and I was very pleased with Geoff Holder’s excellent research and scholarship. When I was a boy I used to frequent my local library, always looking for a book on the strange and unusual. Naturally at that age I was interested in the Loch Ness Monster and came across a book that discussed so much more than the monster. I was introduced to the world of ghosts, fairies, ancient sites, etc. The moment I lifted Holder’s book off the shelf I was filled with nostalgia for that long forgotten book from my childhood, as it too discusses so much more than just the monster. I could not put this book down and have read it cover to cover at least four times. I am planning on purchasing as many of Holder’s books as I can.
Back in the day, I enjoyed many a talk (at Fortean Times UnConventions and elsewhere) by the Rev. Lionel Fanthorpe, the President of ASSAP (Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena) and the former President of BUFORA (British UFO Research Association). Among his 250(!) books, many written in conjunction with his wife Patricia, my favourite is an in-depth study of that enduring Fortean enigma, the Oak Island Mystery.
Just recently, Lionel and Patricia kindly got in touch with a splendid review of The Jacobites and the Supernatural. Here it is, reproduced with permission:
Review of The Jacobites and the Supernatural
By Lionel Fanthorpe
Geoff Holder already enjoys an excellent reputation as an author specialising in history and mystery – and The Jacobites and the Supernatural enhances that reputation yet further. What he has done in this highly readable and informative book is to take the reader through the period from 1689 to 1745 and the grim battles of Culloden, Sheriffmuir and others. He has also brought the Jacobite period vividly to life again with accounts of witchcraft, talismans, sorcery, psychic phenomena and portents: all of which coloured Jacobite society.
Geoff takes the reader to fascinating sites and locations including Lord Pitsligo’s ruined castle at Rosehearty, Blair Castle, Loch Rannoch, Dunkeld and Eilean Donan Castle. He introduces the reader to many larger than life characters of the Jacobite period: James II, Louis XIV, Viscount Dundee, Duncan Forbes and the beautiful Mary of Modena. All this relevant and worthwhile historical and geographical material provides an ideal background for the accounts of the anomalous and paranormal events which make the book so interesting.
The most recent edition of Fortean Times contains a top-hole review of The Jacobites and the Supernatural. As any fule kno, Fortean Times is the world’s leading magazine for strange phenomena, and has been my rock and benchmark for more decades than I care to recall.
Here’s the review in full, reproduced from Fortean Times No.277 July 2011 with permission:
Holder has written a number of guides to regional folklore and legends, but this book takes a novel tack, focusing on the ill-fated Jacobite risings of the late 17th to mid-18th centuries.
Here are tales of witchcraft, spirits, prophecies, prodigies, portents and curses that followed Bonnie Prince Charlie and supporters of the Stuart cause. Of course, there are battlefields, castles and dwellings (a surprising number of them in England) with ghosts, poltergeists, fairies and grisly murders – but there is quite a bit of human interest too. For example: the dashing young ‘Bonnie Dundee’ Graham who was reputed to have sold his soul to the Devil and died by a silver bullet, and the Young Pretender himself who was said to have ‘impressed’ his good looks upon an unborn child.
Here too, we learn how the ‘touching rite’ (believed by many at the time to be a sure cure for scrofula) was introduced to British royalty and used politically by the Stuarts as a proof of a legitimate king, and how many of the marvels of superstition, witchcraft and folklore were exploited by propagandists on all sides.