The ancient Germanic beliefs, religion and social customs (i.e. paganism to the Church) was forcibly attacked by the Christian Church, but also so successfully incorporated into the Christian culture, that only scattered fragments of the pagan ways has remained.
This encyclopedia provides a reference to the many deities, magical creatures, elves, dwarves, trolls, goblins, bogeymen, giants, land spirits, water spirits, mythical places, legends and ancient customs of the Norse and Germanic regions of Europe. In addition, Claude Lecouteux explores the origins, connections, and tales behind the many gods, goddesses, spirits, elves, rituals, folk customs, and mythical places of Norse and Germanic tradition.
The author makes use of various primary and secondary sources, such as the Poetic and Prose Edda, the Saga of Ynglingar by Snorri Sturluson, the History of the Danes by Saxo Grammaticus, several works of the Grimm Brothers, the Saga of the Volsungs, Caesar's Gallic Wars, the Nibelungenlied, and Beowulf.
I found this encyclopedia to be a useful reference to pagan mythology, and was especially pleased with the inclusion of continental mythology, legends and creatures. The illustrations included in this book are also charming and useful for a researcher.