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Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality Paperback – October 25, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (October 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585428639
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585428632
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.3 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Because of Blavatsky’s involvement with the Spiritualist movement in America in the latter half of the 19th Century, Lachman’s account of her life also adds clarity to the murky waters which mixed and matched spiritualism and occultism during that time. His history of the spiritualist movement and secret societies during the time that Blavatsky was involved with them is a valuable contribution, in and of itself, to esoteric history. This is a must read for any one with a serious interest in Western esoteric spirituality."
Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight

"Dense and exhaustive, a valiant attempt to capture the essence of a life that defies simple retelling."
—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

GARY LACHMAN is one of today's most widely read and respected writers on esoteric and occult themes. He has written for several national journals on philosophy, esotericism, and modern culture, and his books—including Swedenborg, Jung the Mystic, Rudolf Steiner, Politics and the Occult, Turn Off Your Mind, and A Secret History of Consciousness—have been published to acclaim in both America and Europe. In his musical career, Lachman has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a founding member of the pioneering rock band Blondie. Born in New Jersey, Lachman currently lives in London.

More About the Author

Gary Lachman (1955- ) was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, but has lived in London, England since 1996. A founding member of the rock group Blondie, he is now a full time writer with more than a dozen books to his name, on topics ranging from the evolution of consciousness and the western esoteric tradition, to literature and suicide, and the history of popular culture. Lachman writes frequently for many journals in the US and UK, and lectures on his work in the US, UK, and Europe.His work has been translated into several languages. His website is http://garylachman.co.uk/

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Maggy A. Anthony on November 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Gary Lachman's latest foray into the spiritual leaders of the West, continues with this most difficult of them: Madame Blavatsky. It is a well-researched book, and is able to dispel some of the most mythological aspects of the life of this very complicated woman; much of the complication manufactured by Blavatsky herself.
A very readable and well written account of the life of one of the most reviled and yet most fascinating people of the later mystical tradition of the West which has implications right into the present day "new age". A must read.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Anna from InannaWorks on November 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
The author of Jung the Mystic and Swedenborg has turned his biographical skills to the life H.P. Blavatsky, the driving force behind esoteric spirituality in the modern world. She is said to have influenced the likes of Thomas Edison, L. Frank Baum (The Wizard of Oz), Gandhi, and Albert Einstein. Dead for over a century, her influence is still evident in occult writing and practice to this day.

A biography of HPB represented a considerable challenge. She was a seeker not an historian. She deliberately obscured her past. Lachman tells us that he saw his job as one of peeling away the myths and misconceptions in an attempt to reveal the person behind the mask. It was not an easy task. In the end he presented the myths in the context of her calculated elusiveness, and focused on her ideas, their effect throughout the past century, and their continued relevance today. His end product reads like a Russian novel, dense with comings and goings on a world stage, complete with royalty, Freemasons, Jesuits, Rosicrucians, and gurus.

Because of Blavatsky's involvement with the Spiritualist movement in America in the latter half of the 19th Century, Lachman's account of her life also adds clarity to the murky waters which mixed and matched spiritualism and occultism during that time. His history of the spiritualist movement and secret societies during the time that Blavatsky was involved with them is a valuable contribution, in and of itself, to esoteric history.

This is a must read for any one with a serious interest in Western esoteric spirituality.

(InannaWorks.com received a free review copy of this book.)
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J. Szimhart on February 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"To the Masters, whoever they are..." introduces the reader to Gary Lachman's latest effort to get things right about the mysterious adepts, gurus, mystics and gadflies that populate the twilight or moonlit territory of occultism and New Age spirituality. Lachman may have sobered up in his spiritual quest since his younger years as a devotee of the Fourth Way teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff, but he has not given up. This is almost as apparent in this volume about HPB or Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891) as it was clearly evident in his practically apologetic account of the life of Anthroposophy's founder Rudolf Steiner (died 1925).

(Before I go on with this, I must again warn the reader of reviewer bias: Back in my serious seeker days into the early 1980s I pursued (eagerly if clumsily) a host of mystical and theosophical teachings and groups including the Agni Yoga Society and its illicit absorption by the Church Universal and Triumphant, then a thriving New Age cult led by Elizabeth Clare Prophet (1939-2009). Most of the groups and gurus that attracted me had one thing in common: They were maverick spawns of the enigmatic Blavatsky and her following of Theosophists. The claimed communication with other- worldly adepts, entities, and masters was a common thread. Another was a Gnostic milieu that more or less turns orthodoxy in Christianity on its head. For example, Blavatsky as neo-Gnostic bought into the anti-myth that the talking serpent that tempted Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden actually did mankind a favor, releasing the species from submission to a `jealous God.' Ingesting the fruit of the mythical Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was a necessary step in human spiritual evolution.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Ashcraft on September 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Best recent work on Blavatsky - Lachman writes with the average reader in view. He doesn't assume that we know very much about his subject. He carefully takes us through the major events of Blavatsky's life - at least the ones we know about - and rehearses what previous biographers and scholars have said about these events. Then he offers his own off-the-cuff opinions, which fall somewhere between modern skeptic and modern believer in the reality of the esoteric and occult. The prose is easy to follow, but Lachman doesn't skimp on scholarship or attention to detail. For my money, this book is far better than the popular 'Madame Blavatsky's Baboon' by Peter Washington, which got a lot of things wrong. And it is more balanced than the monumental biography by Sylvia Cranston. Biographies of Blavatsky typically fall on either side of a line - very critical [e.g. Washington] or apologetic [like Cranston]. Lachman sails between these 2 positions admirably.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Bloom on December 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Covers aspects not addressed in other publications. Highly recommended. Well written and organized. Nice ot have a fresh look at a subject that I've been investigating for years.
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