This book offers an unusual yet effective approach to the subject of mythology by stressing the universal rather than national themes. Leeming collects a wide array of narrative texts from the Bible to English literature to interpretations by Joseph Campbell, C.G. Jung and others, which illustrate the stages of the universal hero. The arrangement of texts by themes such as "Childhood, Initiation and Divine Signs" and "The Descent to the Underworld" help readers strip mythic characters of their many national and cultural "masks" to reveal their archetypal aspects. Real figures such as Jesus and Mohammed are also included to underline the text theory that myths are real and can be applied to real life. Changes to the third edition include additional heroine myths (including Navajo, Indonesian, Indian, Chinese and African tales) and an updated bibliography.