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The Werewolf Handbook by Robert Curran

While scanning the occult and supernatural section at my local bookstore I came across a must-have werewolf book – The Werewolf Handbook: An Essential Guide to Werewolves and, More Importantly, How to Avoid Them by Robert Curran!  The book is packed full of excellent and well-researched werewolf folklore and history. I am a huge fan of Curran’s books (I own a couple of them), they are always flawlessly researched and incredibly informative. Plus, like his other books, this handbook is also full of amazing artwork. Love!

Product Description:
“Werewolves are more popular than ever–thanks largely to recent film hits–and this highly entertaining new title tells readers everything they’ve ever wanted to know about those terrifying preternatural members of the canis lupus family. Newcomers to werewolf lore will be surprised to learn that there are many different werewolf varieties. Alphas are the leaders, and Betas are unwilling but deadly members of a werewolf pack. But there are also Benandanti, holy men who change into wolves in order to do battle with witches . . . and Loup-garoux, werewolves who can change from man to wolf even during daylight hours. The more ordinary werewolves achieve their terrible transformations from man to beast only by the light of the Moon. Author Robert Curran also notes that Christopher, the mysterious saint venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, has many werewolf characteristics. In addition, this book tells readers where werewolves live, describes their telltale traits, such as hairy palms, advises on how to avoid becoming a werewolf, and gives tips on what werewolf victims should do when they are attacked. More than 100 moody and atmospheric color illustrations accompany this intensely readable text.”

From the back cover:
“If you are a cautious backpacker or lone traveler, and think you might find yourself forced to spend time in remote forests, desolate mountains, creepy moors, or ancient ruins, this is the guidebook you’ve been looking for. Packed with advice on what to do if you should come face-to-jaws with a werewolf, this handy little book also offers detailed stories of human encounters with werewolves. And be sure to check the back of the book for a special quiz that tests your werewolf knowledge.”

Next payday I am totally buying this book! What about you guys, what do you think?

– Moonlight

By moonlight

One of the writers for werewolves.com, as well as vampires.com.

22 replies on “The Werewolf Handbook by Robert Curran”

Click the long red link at the top of the post and it will take you to the Amazon page where you can order it. Or check out a bookstore near you, I first found this at the book store.

Click the long red link at the top of the post and it will take you to the Amazon page. Or check out a bookstore near you, I first found this at the book store.

I’ve seen this listed on Amazon, but my current budget says I need to wait before splurging to get this and add it to my collection.

No offense but the book sounds largely as though someone cannot differentiate between folklore and fiction, not to mention between a werewolf (a shapeshifter) and a dog-head (a canine-human-hybrid), it probably comes up with false information on real wolves as well. St. Cristopherus was described as “dog-headed” not wolf-headed and there is no link between him and werewolves, I guess the author doesn’t see that because dogs are not “cool” these days. The image of a ravaging canine-human-hybrid was established by the dog-heads long before that image was transferred to werewolvesmen. Furtheremore traditional werewolves didn’t move in packs and didn’t walk on two legs. Clearly that book doesn’t sound very promising.

And clearly you fail once again to understand what is so painfully clear. Werewolves, vampires, fairies, and on and on are NOT an exact science, they do not have one perfect definition. Myths and legends are just that, not exact, they aren’t pure facts. They grow and alter over time, throughout countries and cultures, they take on new meanings. The word “werewolf” can be used to describe multiple beings, not just one clean-cut thing. The same with vampires, just take a look at vampiric folklore, there’s are dozens of very different and very unique species, yet they are all considered vampires. Dr. Curran includes a large variety of legends concerning canines, because that’s the focus of the book. If he stuck to one definition of a werewolf he would have a one page book. Also, I have read his other werewolf book and I assure he makes it perfectly clear that there are dog-headed men, not wolf-headed. He write abouts more than just the traditional werewolves, which is was makes his books so fascinating. The fact that he has done his research and covered a wide variety of myths pulls the books together and makes them amazing. The man has a doctorate, he has published loads of books on folklore and is considered an expert on many topics. He’s not some kid that got all of his info on the net. He also has an open mind, which is was every folklorist and historian should have. Clearly you don’t, which is why you have such difficulty understanding the most basic of ideas. Perhaps, you should change you interests from mythology, to science, because clearly you are a facts only kind of guy.

“Also, I have read his other werewolf book and I assure he makes it perfectly clear that there are dog-headed men, not wolf-headed. He write abouts more than just the traditional werewolves, which is was makes his books so fascinating.”
Which you didn’t state. You made it sound like just another crappy book from an author who doesn’t know his subject. And you cannot deny that there are far too many of them.

If you know about an author and recommend his books, as you clearly do here then you should write more. After all, what do we readers know about this person?

And just because myths change doesn’t excuse changing the definition as you say fit. If I would have a problem with imperfect definitions I wouldn’t be so interested in zoology. But how can you write about a subject if you don’t even have a definition of it? Especially in mythology you need that. Or do you say that a life-draining fox-spirit is a vampire, or a blood drinking witch? Will you say that a chupcabra is a werewolf just because some crappy movie portrayed it as such? Will you say that Osiris is a werewolf because in one myth he changed into wolf-form? And if you call a canine-human-hybrid with no shapeshifting abilities a werewolf you can just as well call a centaur a werehorse. But have you ever heard anybody doing that?

Due to all this I have made the choice to choose the – to my knowledge – historically most fitting definition:
A werewolf is a living human being that has the ability, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to shift into a Gray wolf or a very similar animal (similar enough to be confused for a Gray Wolf) by various means.

This definition is not perfect but it is a definition that provides a clear guideline with which to work.

Many people today rather seem to have this definition:
A werewolf is a being that is called a werewolf.

And this would be just as stupid as the US-American one-drop-rule.

And what is even weirder in my eyes: rarely does an author ever mention weredogs, despite the fact that dogs are clearly wolves too and even if someone says no, they are closer to wolves than tigers, hyenas or coyotes. But nonetheless authors mention the lobisomen who change into maned wolves (a wild dog as far removed from the wolf as the bush dog), they mention bouda who change into hyenas, but no dogs.

It is as though many don’t even bother to look at it from a clear starting point. If an author writes about how the definition of werewolf changed over time that is one thing, it’s a completely different thing if he lumps all sorts of stuff together and just labels it werewolf.

Would you actually be ok with an author who doesn’t have a clear definition of what he is writing about?

OMG THIS IS PERFECT!!!!!!! This is the book I have been looking for maybe if I learn enough about them I will be able to finally be able to find one!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I ordered this book and read it and although I will keep it, this will oly be as a reminder. Because I cannot recommend this book, not in any way, except for the art maybe.
It is not as though everything is wrong or it is badly written, but I serious doubts regarding the books validity.
No matter how good the book is that cannot be an excuse for its flaws. Actually there are even design flaws, as the author mixed pictures up (e.g. that bear-monster and the burning werewolves are both pictures from the Nurenberg Chronicle depicting a cynocephalus and the burning of jews) up.
It might be possible that the author is right but even after the first 20 pages I found several oddities that gave me raised eyebrows.
Furthermore parts of this book are in contradiction with his previous werewolf book and I have my doubts that he has a definition of werewolf to begin with.
All in all, the biggest flaw is that the author does not name his sources unlike in his previous werewolf-book, which makes it very hard to know where he actually has it from and how valid his sources and/or his statements are.

Hi, I contacted Bob Curran and he claims never to have written that book so this one tag would be false as it seems.

Well, his name is on the cover. So unless it’s a ghostwriter using his name, then it’s his book. Also, he has this book listed on his personal website under a list of his books. Why would he claim it as his if it isn’t?

Actually the name is “Dr. Robert Curran” but the man writing these other books always called himself “Dr. Bob Curran”, in addition he last book was published via Career Press, over which he can be contacted, but this was by Barron’s Educational Series.
Like I said I contacted him via Carreerpress due to the inconsitencies in the book and the contradictions to Werewolves and unless this is another fraud then it was the original Dr. Curran.
His response was this:

I have received an e-mail from you redirected by Career Publishing concerning a book entitled “The Werewolf Handbook” for which many thanks. However, I also find it puzzling as I have never written a book entitled “The Werewolf Handbook”. The book I have written was entitled “Werewolves” and was indeed published by Career Press. I did some work on a book on werewolves for children many years ago but this was handled simply by a London distribution house as was not for general but rather specialist distribution. I doubt if you are referring to the Career Publication volume as you say that the book to which you refer has no Bibliography whilst the Career one has a very clear Bibliography. Your e-mail has alarmed me in that someone may be using mmaterial from my books without permission. I would therefore require you to furnish me with the publisher, the date of publication and where published so that I can investigate this further. I also presume that I can use your e-mail in this matter and if you could furnish me with further contact details that would be helpful. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I will reply to your e-mail if you wish at a future date.

Bob Curran

So this is all I can currently say and we will haave to wait for a response, after I send him the provided information this morning, or any mentioing of Curran’s actions. But it would be an explanation for the incosistencies and contradictions in the book. I mean did you not notice that in Werewolves Dr. Curran wrote Laignech Faelad while in this one it was always Laignach Faelad every time? Or all those weird and misplaced pictures? The one on page 60 is a colored version of a picture from the Schedelsche Weltchronik and shows a burning of Jews, the one on page 66-67 in the chapter Jean Grenier depicts the Wolf of Ansbach. And the one on page 74 clearly depicts a canine (as evidenced by the long muzzle) and not a cat as the author claimed. These are just three examples, not to mention his strange assortment of “werewolves,” e.g. Curran didn’t claim that the Master of the Forest was a werewolf in Werewolves as far as I can remember but this Curran did. Not to mention that his ways to spot a werewolf are inconsistent with the printed stories.

I guess we will wait and see, I suppose it is possible that Barron’s made the book without Curran’s knowledge. It’s unlikely, but possible.

Either way it could proof interesting. Either what you suggested happened, someone else used his name or something is wrong on his page and amazon.

I know that it stands on the list and it is also under his list on Amazon.com. There is actually something weird there as well. The book is not listed here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_tc_2_0?rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3ABob+Curran&keywords=Bob+Curran&ie=UTF8&qid=1331203450&sr=1-2-ent&field-contributor_id=B001HPITCS#

But it is listed here:
http://www.amazon.com/Bob-Curran/e/B001HPITCS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1331173235&sr=8-1

And when you click on the book the author’s name is Robert Curran and no longer Bob Curran.
Either way, something his weird, but the site you linked is the one I have the contact E-Mail adress publicity@careerpress.com from and if this site is the one of Bob Curran, than we must assume that the man who responded to me is Dr. Curran.
But like I said, I cannot say more at the moment.

Ok, Dr. Curran responded to me and it looks like we were both right and wrong to a degree, since he was involved with this book but not in the way he was with “Werewolves.”
I am not posting the full response since he asked me for personal details and therefore I only post the part regarding the book:

Many thanks for your reply. I have been spending the morning trying to get to the bottom of the book – once I had the reference which you kindly provided. I was able to locate the book you mentioned. I think I know what you are looking at. The clue which you gave me was Marshall Editions. Marshall Editions is not a publishing company, it is a book packaging and distribution company. That means that it puts together illustrated materials for specialist markets and whilst as a company it is based in London the working centre is not normally located there but is world wide. You will recall that I mentioned to you that I had provided some text on a number of subjects for Marshall Edition, designed as a series of illustrated materials for 11-12 year old American children. I was one of number of writers who worked on this – the illustration editor I know worked in Jamaica and the copy-setter was based in Italy. All that I did was to provide them with text which was suitable for 11-12 year old American children and then amended and added to the text as they saw fit. This was not done under a usual publishers agreement and they retain the rights to the script – I was asked to provide text for a number of books and this was done. What I would assume you are referring to is a non-academic illustrated text which had been sold onto Barrons as a book for 11-12 year olds to coincide with films like Twilight etc. The fact that it is under their educational series is neither here nor there – it is standard publishing practice in these cases. The text had been changed by the editors – probably combined with a number of other texts – in order to suit the market and whilst it might have thrown you a little, it is certainly not illegal as they own the text and can change it and illustrate it as they please. And they have the right to put my name on it although the name Bob Curran is usually associated with Career Press which probably explains why they have used Robert – I have no real problem with that. To the best of my knowledge Marshall Editions no longer exists – in any case beyond this I have had no contact with them. She book I would guess is not intended to be a “serious work” but is rather designed for children and I’m afraid I can’t comment on it. In fact I wasn’t awareof that edition until you pointed it out. I shall order a copy and have a look at it.

Looks like he knew of them already.
He responded again:

I believe I have solved the Werewolf book you raised with me. What you are looking at is indeed a children’s book, designed to fit into the current market – it was published to coincide with the film “Wolf Man” which appeared a couple of years ago. So what you have been looking at has been designed for 9-11 year old American children. Marshall Editions still do exist and do still operate as book designers – you may check out their website. The book is not intended to be the definitive werewolf book that you have mistaken it for and they have used my name on the book – you can check some of their other works where other authors names have been used. They have used my name on a number of other work
such as Ghosts and Wizards but these are also for children and are designed to coincide with Harry Potter films.

So I wouldn’t put much stock in this “Handbook”

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