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The History of Spiritualism Hardcover – November 4, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Hesperides Press (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144372260X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1443722605
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,249,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

This two-volume history was published in 1926 by the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), who, like many of his contemporaries, was fascinated by spiritualism. Volume 2 focuses on celebrated mediums from 1870 to World War I, and topics including 'ectoplasm' and 'spirit photography'. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

The life of Arthur Conan Doyle illustrates the excitement and diversity of the Victorian age unlike that of any other single figure of the period. At different points in his life he was a surgeon on a whaling ship; a GP; an apprentice eye-surgeon; an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate (twice); a multi-talented sportsman; one of the inventors of cross-country skiing in Switzerland; a formidable public speaker; a campaigner against miscarriages of justice; a military strategist; a writer in a range of forms; and the head of an extraordinary family. In his autobiography, he wrote: 'I have had a life which, for variety and romance, could, I think, hardly be exceeded.' He was not wrong. But Conan Doyle was also a Victorian with a twist, a man of tensions and contradictions. He was fascinated by travel, exploration, and invention, indeed all things modern and technological; yet at the same time he was also very traditional, voicing support for values such as chivalry, duty, constancy, and honour. By the time of his death in July 1930 he was a celebrity, achieving worldwide fame and notoriety for his creation of the rationalist, scientific super-detective Sherlock Holmes; yet at the same time his later decades were taken up with his advocacy of the new religion of Spiritualism, in which he was a devoted believer. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
It's well written and well documented.
Joseph Knasinski
No one goes wrong in tapping into the great research of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his review of New Spiritualism.
D. Foulkes
This is a scholarly book, which I require my students to read.
Benjamin R. Cox, III

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin R. Cox, III on November 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Besides being the Father of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the St. Paul of Spiritualism. Having become disenchanted with the Roman Catholic faith at an early age, Doyle searched for years, before becoming a convinced Spiritualist. The evidence that convinced him was communication with his son, Kingsley, who died at the end of the great war. This information came through in seances. Doyle often remarked,"If only they could know". Doyle not only believed, he knew! This book is extremely well written, as one would expect from a writer of Doyle's distinction. The early beginnings with Swedenborg are covered, as well as important phenomena and mediums of the time. To me, as a Spiritualist minister, the greatest chapters are on the religious aspects of Spiritualism, which Doyle explains in great depth. This is a scholarly book, which I require my students to read. But it is more than worth the time, when one considers what one learns from this authority. Doyle traveled extensively in the cause of the faith and established several churches in Australia. I wish all readers the same exciting learning experience that I had when I first read this book!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. Foulkes on January 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
No one goes wrong in tapping into the great research of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his review of New Spiritualism. He takes us through the pioneers of that movement that began here in the United States in 1848 with the Fox Sisters. Doyle was purposeful and intent on his work; a scholarly effort that is used today by the Morris Pratt Institute as required reading for its courses on Spiritualism.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James W. Turner on August 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
A very surprising book! Doyle embraces spiritualism and digs into the subject.I made one mistake not reading this book earlier.
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Format: Hardcover
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was a Scottish physician and writer, who is most noted for his stories about Sherlock Holmes; after the deaths of his wife, son, brother, two brothers-in-law, and two nephews, he turned to Christian Spiritualism; he also was a member of The Ghost Club. He also wrote books such as The New Revelation: The Coming of a New Spiritual Paradigm and The Edge of the Unknown.

He wrote in the Preface to this 1926 book, "This work... covers in a way the whole history of the Spiritualistic movement... a fuller history of the Spiritualistic than had hitherto seen the light---a history which would have the advantage of being written from inside... It is indeed curious that this movement, which many of us regard as the most important in the history of the world since the Christ episode, has never had a historian from those who were within it, and who had large personal experience of its development." (Pg. vii)

Of the Fox sisters, he notes, "their jaded energies were renewed by the offer of wine at a time when one at least of them was hardly more than a child. It is said that there was some family predisposition to alcoholism... Against their moral character there has never been a breath of suspicion, but they had taken a road which leads to degeneration of mind and character..." (Pg. 89) He deplores in mediums "the temptation to gain temporary relief from alcohol, in the temptation to fraud when the power wanes... The remedy is to segregate mediums, to give them salaries instead of paying them by results...
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By Bobbananda on April 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Doyle with help from a ghost writer (interesting fit), reviews almost 100 years of spiritualism, mediumship, research and personal experience. He is not dogmatic but seems to glaze over some important angles on the subject, especially that provided by HP Blavatsky. Still, this is a grand introduction to the subject with many references cited. Recommended.
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