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Master of the Mysteries: The Life of Manly Palmer Hall Paperback – July 1, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Sahagun is a remarkable writer who I hope to read more of. His research is impeccable and many of those who played a role in Hall's life opened their hearts, minds and doors to him in documenting this larger than life figure both literally and figuratively. Knowing some of the people in this book that knew Hall and associated with him over the years this biography rings true from the stories I have heard from those that knew the "Maestro".
On another level, fans of Kenneth Anger's classic "Hollywood Babylon" will find much to keep them amused, the occult Hollywood subculture is here with such revelations as Rhonda Fleming's alternative health regime, Glenn Ford's belief in reincarnation and astrology (did you know he had a deformed spine that resulted in the need for special camera angles in the films he appeared in?), John Denver's unrequited attempt to become Hall's disciple, to Gloria Swanson's (the real Norma Desmond) finding a crashed flying saucer in the Hollywood hills? Culminating like a Greek tragedy in the mysterious death of this master of the mysteries- will linger in the mind of the reader long after the last page is read.
the recorded documents and how he retold his own history. The evolution of the spiritual phenomenon in this city form Hall's arrival up to his death was great, warts and all. The new age, really, is just another cycle of a recurrent theme in the history of personal spiritual movements complete with real saints, real seekers, real con-artists. For myself who had heard him speak and who was at Hall's last lecture that evening at the Scottish Rite in Los Angeles, this book is great.
In the new book by Louis Sahagun, Master of the Mysteries: The Life of Manly Palmer Hall chronicles the obscure life of the man who is more noted for his life's work rather than his day to day travails. Written in a decade by decade narrative, very early on it becomes clear that Hall was fully immersed in his work and growing proficiency to explain it to others, despite his limited education. Though not flawless, Hall managed to produce the largest and greatest compendium of esoteric wisdom in the 20th Century aptly titled The Secret Teachings of All Ages (Reader's Edition) and just as the name implies it delivers the education.
Another interesting aspect of the book is the examination of the occult history of Los Angeles and how it played into ensuing decades towards the 21st Century. Notable celebrities, politicians, and rocket scientists all played a role in the growing cities esoteric and occult community, where Hall stood as a consistent beacon of light within his humble Philosophical Research Society. To note, Hall was a Freemason, raised November 22, 1954 in Jewel Lodge No. 374, in San Francisco. His written work on Freemasonry predates his having been made a Mason, and stopped following his degrees.Read more ›
Now, years later, I finally decided to sit down and tried to discover who this guy supposedly was that wrote so well and gave such remarkable lectures and insights. Let's just say I was "enlightened" by what I found.
First, a caveat: in case it isn't obvious enough, I want to point out that this book is a biography, not an autobiography. Additionally, the author makes clear in the first part of the book that he never actually interviewed Hall himself. All the information in the biography is after the fact, after his death, and after quite a bit of research. Since Mr. Hall was no longer around to speak for himself, the author took a different route: he let Hall's philosophical publications answer the questions.
With that in mind, perhaps you can see, like I did, the immediate and fundamental problem: Cherry picking Hall's writings to discover Hall himself is a bit assumptive and brash. To be fair, the author does interview a lot of people, including Hall's now deceased second wife Marie Hall (who is in the acknowledgements section of the book but died in 2005) and his step daughter. However, the core problem still remains: no direct contact with the man himself because he's, well, about as dead as dead gets.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A bit on the sensationalist side...as a newspaper writer would be conditioned to produce. Still well researched,
and a very interesting read. Read more
I had looked forward to reading about M.P. Hall and learning more about him because he was so prolific with his mystical writings. Read morePublished 21 months ago by BT
After listening to all the Manly Hall recorded lectures offered by the Philosophical Research Society I read Secret Teachings of All Ages. Read morePublished 23 months ago by seeker
great book! lots of information to think about. This book will certainly give you new insight and help you on your journey for more light.Published on December 15, 2013 by J3
I do think, however, that the author is not really an "unbiased journalist". That being said, it was still worth reading about the life of MPH and this was the only... Read morePublished on August 20, 2013 by S. Hoge
I found this an interesting study in the life of a complex character. If you enjoy listening to his series of lectures on YouTube, you will like this book.Published on February 12, 2013 by Irene Lamothe
Well-written and page-turning reading, this bio of Manly P. Hall follows the life of one of Americas great sages, a leader in the early "New Age" movement in Los Angeles. Read morePublished on November 3, 2012 by Wizardwanderer
This is one of the most interesting and engaging books I've read in a long time. Wonderfully well written, telling the story of the remarkable life and sad demise of the an equally... Read morePublished on July 3, 2012 by Dr. C. H. Roberts