Oxford, Oxford University Press 2018. Hardback with dustjacket, 284 pages. New.
Subtitled Magic, Divination, and Faith during the First World War, Owen Davies’ new book A Supernatural War reveals for the first time the hidden influence of Spiritualism and Magic on both the battlefields and home fronts in Europe during the Great War. Davies shows how the First World War led to a revival of interest in astrology, spirits and protective talismans; how soldiers sought to protect themselves through magical rituals and on the home front, how people sought out psychics and occult practitioners for news of their loved ones, or sought to communicate with their spirits. He also explores how the establishment churches responded to these beliefs, and how the authorities in several countries periodically clamped down on fortune tellers and mediums due to concerns over their effects on public morale. Illustrated throughout with images representing the infusion of magic from the period, A Supernatural War is a fascinating and enthralling history of the intersection between occultism and warfare during the First World War.