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Politics and the Occult: The Left, the Right, and the Radically Unseen Paperback – November 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Quest Books; 1st Quest Ed edition (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0835608573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0835608572
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #469,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mark Newbold on October 24, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gary Lachman has provided what will stand as a definitive guide to the Occult's real and imagined political agendas and alleged mechanizations. From the attempted geopolitical Rosicrucian inspired government of Frederick V of the Palatinate, an event first documented in depth by Dame Frances Yates in her "The Rosicrucian Enlightenment", to the various esoteric agendas borne out by parties in the French Revolution, to a brief bias free history of Freemasonry and dispelling much of the nonsense and rubbish that has been written about Adam Weishaupt & the Illuminati. All against a historical background of how these various esoteric agendas influenced not only politics but its impact on societies as well. This is social history at its most thought provoking.

Like all of Lachman's works, this is both scholarly and approachable with a style and pace equal to any political thriller on the market today. Rich in detail with a calvacade of portraits of individuals who made their mark in the western esoteric tradition. Lachman clearly pays homage to researchers that have gone before in exploring similar terrain, including Christopher McIntosh and the late James Webb.

I must also recognize Quest Books, the publishing wing of the Theosophical Society in America. For too long they published the staid and rather tame canon of Theosophical literature and its stable of writers. With this work and Mr. Lachman's previous Quest book, "In Search of P.D. Ouspensky", as well as other recent titles, Quest has rescued itself from the oblivion of mundane metaphysical comfortability.

This work concludes with a concise and brilliant overview of Geunonian inspired Traditionalism, leading one to conclude with Sinclair Lewis, "When Fascism comes...
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By New Age of Barbarism on March 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
_Politics and the Occult: The Left, the Right, and the Radically Unseen_, published in 2008 by Quest Books, by occult researcher and former performer with the rock group Blondie, Gary Lachman, is a fascinating account of the role of the occult in political movements from the reformation till the modern day. Lachman who is heavily indebted to the work of James Webb (who coined the term "illuminated politics") argues that occult politics need not be fundamentally "fascist", a charge frequently leveled against it, but has actually been involved in various movements of both the left and the right. Lachman considers the primary role of Tradition in occult politics and the opposition of much of it to the modern world. Relying heavily on Webb's book _The Occult Establishment_, Lachman traces out the role of various occultists and their political interests through history as well as their involvement in various revolutions including the American, French, and Russian, and their involvement in Fascism and Nazism. This book offers a fascinating examination of the role that occultists have played in politics and uncovers much hidden material relating to the darker sides of the human condition in the modern world.

This book begins with an Introduction entitled "Hidden Superiors and the Retreat from the Modern World". Here, Lachman considers the role of "illuminated politics" as it relates to the modern world. Lachman considers the arguments of Umberto Eco, author of _Foucault's Pendulum_, concerning occultism and fascism, as well as the occultist opposition to modernity and the longing for Tradition. Lachman explains the "cosmic state" as well as the movement of occult politics from progressive to reactionary.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on July 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Politics and the Occult: The Left, The Right and The Radically Unseen" is a book by Gary Lachman (Gary Valentine), a rock artist with an alternative career in alternative spirituality. I wonder if he ever discussed Steiner, Gurdjieff or Jung with Iggy Pop or Blondie?

In "Politics and the Occult" Lachman takes us on an extended and somewhat confusing journey through the occult "establishment" (or rather underground), taking a closer look at the principal players and their political entanglements. Were the Rosicrucians allied with the Winter King Frederick V? Did the Masons participate in the American and French revolutions? What about the famed Illuminati? Swedenborg, Blavatsky, Roerich, Jung and even Crowley turns out to have been (or suspected to have been) secret intelligence operatives. Less surprising are the political activities of Annie Besant, Julius Evola or Mircea Eliade. Besant was, of course, left-wing, while Evola and Eliade were fascists. It seems occult politics isn't above the traditional left-right divide!

Unfortunately, "Politics and the Occult" is badly edited, jumps back and forth on the timeline, and looks more like a pseudo-encyclopaedia than a really robust, in-depth study. Lachman isn't a scholar, but I nevertheless found his books on Steiner and Ouspensky relatively interesting. The only thing that kept me reading "Politics and the Occult" is the bizarre subject matter. I *did* glean a few things from the book I didn't knew before: Swedenborg's "Tantric" sex meditation, Zinzendorf's depredations (I knew he was nuts, but this...), the Masonic connections of arch-conservative "Catholic" Joseph de Maistre, Nicolas Roerich's connections with everyone from FDR's Vice President Henry Wallace to émigré Russian White Guards...
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