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Aleister Crowley: The Biography: Spiritual Revolutionary, Romantic Explorer, Occult Master and Spy Hardcover – September 1, 2011
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The author's strong points are his knowledge of esoteric societies and ideologies, and thanks to his access to Crowley's papers, he has been able to tell the tale as Crowley experienced it. I like the way Churton doesn't try to tell the reader what 'really' took place in the frequent supernatural incidents. He describes what happened, how Crowley experienced it and what was the context, and lets the reader decide.
But the book has its flaws, some merely irritating, others really serious. Churton doesn't quite worship Crowley, but comes close. Therefore he often attributes to him prophetic abilities that are very much overblown. You didn't have to be a prophet in the early years of the 20th century to see that a great war was coming or that Russia was on verge of revolution. But Churton, in awe of his subject, sees these as examples of Crowley's powers. Also I'm not at all certain that Crowley's intelligence role during the WWI was as important as the author makes out. For example, Crowley could not have influenced the supposed German decision to sink Lusitania for the very simple reason that such decision was never made by German leadership -- the decision was made by the U-boat captain on the spot.
For reasons already mentioned it's obvious that the author's grasp of political history is weak. He's so intent to prove that Crowley was continuously involved with the British intelligence agencies, that he seizes quite minor and circumstantial incidents as evidence that Crowley was employed as a secret agent. The most blatant example - and the book's worst blunder - comes on page 293.Read more ›
One would be wrong.
In this book, the author, Tobias Churton, suprisingly grips the reader's attention in the first few chapters, revealing insights to family matters and ancestors never before brought up in any other Crowley biography, and it just gets better and better from there. Many previously uncited sources, letters, diaries, make this a most revealing biography, not just a re-hash of dirt and outrages that have been attributed to Crowley in such biased "biographies" as The Legacy of the Beast: The Life, Work, and Influence of Aleister Crowley or Megatherion: The Magickal World of Aleister Crowley. Well written, well researched, and very informative, this book reveals much of several sides of Crowley's life and personality for even the most stickeling experts of "The Master Therion."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Whatever preconceived notions, ideas or opinions one may have about Aleistar Crowley, including a narrow shortsightedness, they will be exposed and then put to rest after reading... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Shanti
Learned a lot about the man behind the myth book did drag on and on about his magic and orders got very boring after awhilePublished 13 months ago by celeste wizinsky
Great biography can only issue from two people: the clear-headed honesty of the admirer (Edmund Morris' Theodore Roosevelt biography trilogy is a great example of this), or from... Read morePublished 15 months ago by James Bojaciuk
This is the second book I've read from this author. He's a well qualified and interesting biographer.Published 15 months ago by Elizabeth Crowens
This is one of the worst (if nkt THE WORST) bio I have ecer read. The author assumes prior knowledge of almost every event in Crowley's life. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Soseverian
Sorry I wasted my time and money. I knew Aleister Crowley was a piece of work, but he was also a big bore. Notice too that he must have an oral fixation...... Read morePublished on July 27, 2013 by L. Wolfe
Oh this book is a shame. I was so disappointed. Mr. Churton wrote an excellent over view of the Gnostics that Barnes & Noble reprinted. Read morePublished on August 21, 2012 by Jim Hayes
there's a lot of information out there, in books and online, and getting a sense of what he was about can't really be encapsulated in one book as i feel the man was many things to... Read morePublished on June 3, 2012 by Captain Mission