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Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult Paperback – May 24, 2002

3.7 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Unholy Alliance is a treasure of scholarly details about the relatively unelucidated chamber of history where the Nazi Party and a number of higher practitioners of the occult came together and flew apart. So it is a book of startling and sinister coincidences, of murder, magic, and mysterious questions there for us to pursue. Needless to say, it’s highly readable."—Norman Mailer

"To belittle National Socialism as a criminal conspiracy to dominate the world is more or less the accepted rule. To blame one man for the horrible disasters Germany caused within twelve years...is also common practice. However, there is more to it, and Peter Levenda, in his breathtaking Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult, has the answers: The Third Reich was deeply rooted in mystical thinking; its philosophical origins go back thousands of years, and millions of people fell under the spell of its occult rites, symbols and teachings....Levenda’s book reaches deeply into the human mind, identifying those dark instincts that draw us to evil and which the Nazis so aptly exploited....Some of the voices heard here today echo the voices Hitler and his gang pretended to hear and used for their apocalyptic purposes. Peter Levenda’s Unholy Alliance makes that shockingly clear."—Hans Janitschek, President, United Nations Society of Writers and Artists

"With humor, courage, an eye for irony and through humble scholarship, Levenda draws the relationship between Nazis, the Vatican, the CIA, anti-Communist organizations...a whole slough of occult societies and our own local yokels. Beginning like a good exciting spy novel in the clutches of a dangerous Nazi hideaway in Chile called Colonia Dignidad, Levenda...weaves this dangerous locale into his vast documentation and original research from many archives in a sophisticated and thrilling revelation of cults and their victims....Too complicated for Geraldo and too shocking for Oprah and too damaging to large corporate entities like ITT (which financed Allende’s overthrow)....I recommend a serious reading of Peter Levenda’s Unholy Alliance."—Bob Rudner, Chicago Greens/Green Party USA

"Peter Levenda's Unholy Alliance is at once a terrific read, an underground classic, and a major work of investigative reporting. Shinning a bright light on the darkest corners of 'history's basement,' Levenda traces and explicates the origins of Nazi occultism from the theosophical enlightenment of the early 20th century to its recent resurgence in North and South America. Rich in documentation and insight, Unholy Alliance is a profound and fascinating book in the tradition of Louis Pauwel's and Jacques Bergier's The Morning of the Magicians."—Jim Hougan, author of Spooks and Secret Agenda.

“Peter Lavenda offers readers a thorough yet popular history of the occult background and roots of the Nazi movement beginning in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries….readers come away from reading it with the feeling that the connection between Nazism and the occult is very real…. Open-minded readers should find this book to be a fascinating look at an underemphasized but key aspect of the Nazi movement in terms of its foundational causes.” –Jim Lewis, Journal of Church and State, Vol. 46, Issue #3, Summer 2004

About the Author

Peter Levenda is the author of The Secret Temple: Masons, Mysteries and the Founding of America (Continuum, 2009) and Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult (Continuum, 2002), which has appeared in 6 foreign-language editions.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 444 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 2 edition (May 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826414095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826414090
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Levenda was born in the Bronx and lived in New York, Indiana, Chicago, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island before going to Malaysia where he lived for seven years. He has an MA in Religious Studies and Asian Studies, and has worked as an IT executive in China, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Europe (he became involved in China trade in 1984). He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the T.E. Lawrence Society, and is a charter member of the Norman Mailer Society. He is also a member of AFIO (the Association of Former Intelligence Officers) and has appeared in television documentaries on Nazism and the Third Reich, most recently on Brad Meltzer's Decoded series ("The Spear of Destiny" episode), as well as on documentaries aired on the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and TNT. He has given addresses before the American-Chinese Business Women's Association and the Florida-China Chamber of Commerce on China trade, and has lectured on the role that Operation Paperclip played in American political and military post-war history (in Amsterdam).

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
In this readable but thoroughly researched survey of the mythic/religio/occult ideologies that formed the basis of the Nazi movement, in UNHOLY ALLIANCE, the author has succeeded in making a dense, fact-laden topic spanning hundreds of years accessible to the non-specialist reader without sacrificing accuracy. This is probably the most thorough treatment of Nazi occult ideology in English, and where it surpasses similar works is that it continues documenting neo-Nazi survivals right up to the present. Anyone who doubts Levenda's thesis that the end of WWII only changed, rather than ended, the Nazi movement, need only check the unblushing anti-Semitism of some of the other reviews here.
Writers exploring the occult and its many flamboyant personalities frequently fall into either reflexive debunking or starstruck gullibility. While the author has done plenty of first-hand investigation, even getting into the Chilean Nazi enclave Colonia Dignidad during the Pinochet years, he succeeds in giving us a clear-eyed, even-handed view.
The Norman Mailer Foreword to this edition is an unexpected plus, a fine essay on metaphysics, occultism, and current events that gave this reader, who has always considered the enormous Mailer canon a mixed bag, a pleasant surprise: Mailer has a number of deeply insightful things to say about magic and the occult. Mailer says he's read UNHOLY ALLIANCE three times--once more than I have, though my first edition is a bit ragged from the many times I've also used it as a quick reference.
UNHOLY ALLIANCE belongs on the bookshelf of anyone with a serious interest in WWII, extremist religio-political ideologies of all descriptions, modern Roman Catholic history, or any branch of occultism.
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By A Customer on August 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
Reading the last few reviews of Unholy Alliance, I am struck by the fact that both reviewers are unapologetic anti-Semites. I guess everyone's entitled to their opinion, but they have misrepresented some of the facts. I only find a single reference to Tom Metzger in the book, and the author nowhere states that Metzger was a "rune master", whatever that is, only that his newsletter used to be a forum for pagan and Odinist views. I think that's correct. As for Hitler not being an occultist, the author states very clearly that Hitler was not a member of any occult group, but that he was fascinated by Lanz von Liebenfels, something that is well-documented, and was a protege of Dietrich Eckart. In fact, the entire book is well-documented with sources (from the Captured German Documents Section at the National Archives, among other places) that you won't find other places, and the author even gives microfilm roll numbers so anyone -- even an anti-Semite! -- can go to the Archives and look up the relevant documents themselves with ease. While one of the reviewers is an admirer of Goodrick-Clarke (who also writes about the occult background of the Third Reich), he does not like Unholy Alliance. I think the problem is that Unholy Alliance also focuses on modern survivals of Nazism in North and South America and takes a good hard look at groups like Metzger's, something that Goodrick-Clarke does not do (even though his books are excellent).Read more ›
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Peter Levenda's _Unholy Alliance_ is at once a tale of adventure and intrigue and a useful source of information on the occult origins of Nazism. Much has been made of these occult beginnings and developments which led to the creation of Hitler's Third Reich and which have continued after its downfall in various forms of NeoNazism. In this book, Peter Levenda examines these occult aspects of Nazism from its early development in the Thule Society and among individuals such as Guido von List, Lanz von Liebenfels, and Rudolf von Sebottendorf to Nazi psychics up until the present day in which Satanism and other such dark forces have combined with Nazi occultism. Levenda rightly contends that Hitler himself was not overly influenced by occult ideas (contrary to the thesis put forth in _The Spear of Destiny_) despite his youthful readings of von Liebenfel's notorious magazine, "Ostara". However, according to Levenda the magical and occult aspects of Nazism cannot be denied. Levenda considers Nazism to be a sort of cult with an all powerful leader ("Der Fuehrer"). Much of the material in this book as far as the early roots of Nazism is available from other sources especially _The Occult Roots of Nazism_ by Nicholas Goodrick-Clark. However, Levenda provides new material in his examination of Nazi psychics, including Hanussen, his thorough discussion of the Ahnenerbe Society, his explanation of the Tibet expedition which has not previously been covered by other authors in this field, and his discussions of the notorious madman Aleister Crowley. In fact, a great deal of this book focuses on the shenanigans of Aleister Crowley but also discusses the roots of many German secret societies in the Theosophical Society of the medium Madame H. P. Blavatsky.Read more ›
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