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Alchemists, Mediums, and Magicians: Stories of Taoist Mystics Paperback – January 13, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (January 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590306597
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590306598
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,050,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Thomas Cleary is the preeminent translator of classic Eastern texts, including The Essential Tao, The Essential Confucius, The Secret of the Golden Flower, and the bestselling The Art of War.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 31 people found the following review helpful By AlchemistGeorge VINE VOICE on March 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
The book seems quite a fine translation of a surprisingly dull collection of very very short biographies of alchemists and immortals, a surprising percentage (5%?) of whom are described as having drinking problems.

The sketches run like this "his name was ~, he lived in ~, he studied with master ~ or read the secret document ~, he attained, the {governor, emperor} wished his counsel or for him to be part of their administration, but he said "no, I am too ill" even though they sent {silk, gold, carriages} Most of the entries are less than two pages long, some just a couple of paragraphs. The entries are arranged chronologically, and the more recent ones are longer and more interesting.

There are lots of intriguing references - secret grottos - secret societies - secret practices - but its all just hints. There are some bits of philosophy - but they are very very short. And the ones who get found passed out with drink ...

I feel like if I knew more about Chinese history or something that this would be far more interesting. I only finished reading the book out of a sense of obligation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J.Spock on August 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
I would say this book is for "hardcore" students of chinese philosophy and/or Taoism. It does not really teach anything, but allows a glimpse into the way of thinking(writing?) many centuries ago in China.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book arrived very quickly and in beautiful condition.
It only gets 4 out of 5 stars, because some of the translations were not as graceful as others I have read of the same material...which is not the vendor's fault.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Diego R. on March 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A little difficult reading because some information because is a little vague on some characters because they have being mixed with legend thanks to its culture and from the hundreds of years or more since the times of some of them....but is a refreshing and interesting reading because there are not so much books of magician and alchemist of the chinese culture....or not here were I live or encountered. But Thomas Cleary always did great works.
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