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Witchcraft and Black Magic Unknown Binding – 1946


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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Rider (1946)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007E4IIE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,755,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. Moran on 1 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Echoing my previous review of "The Werewolf in Lore & Legend" I can only reiterate my fondness for Summers' works. This is a book of serious, dedicated scholarship and is intended for a readership with at least a cursory grasp of Latin, Greek and other romance languages. However, with so many online translators as cheap dictionaries widely available these days the use of primary sources should be no barrier to the earnest reader.
Anyone who professes to practice magic, witchcraft or dabble in the occult and therefore has a sympathetic disposition towards it will certainly not enjoy this book. Summers, as a Catholic priest, is scathing of the men & woman he writes about as having encouraged the "rank weeds of heresy and satanism" which is exactly what he saw witchcraft and sorcery as. Oddly, all of Summers works sit much more happily on the shelves of traditionally minded Catholics or High Church Anglicans than self-professed witches and magicians. His arguments that all sorcery is a vile sin and a moral evil enliven the wonderfully archaic style of writing Summers' employs. As to what Summers himself thinks should be done with those who claim to be witches or practice sorcery, he leaves us with the deliciously chilling Biblical quotation from Exodus 22:18 "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live".
The level of research and scholarship is commendable, Summers employs works and manuscripts rarely if ever in public print and mostly now to be found in obscure university library storage rooms.
In short, not a book for those who wish to learn about practising witchcraft, performing occult rituals or casting spells. Summers almost never in any of his occult works gives the rubrics of the rites he discusses.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "bachblaidd" on 3 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is a fascinating read for those interested in the history of witchcraft and the darker side of peoples nature. This is not, however, a book for those who are looking for spells. I would have given this book 5 stars but sometimes the text is difficult to follow. Montague Summers should be praised for his in depth research into a subject area which is still fairly taboo even now 50 years after the witchcraft act has been repealed.
All in all an excellent reference guide.
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Format: Paperback
This classic book by that most erudite of priests, the Reverend Alphonsus Joseph-Mary Augustus Montague Summers, was originally published in 1946 only to be greeted by a wave of consternation and dismay among secular modernist critics such as H.G. Wells who found the traditionalist Catholic perspectives expressed therein quite unpalatable to their rationalistic sensibilities. The book was originally contracted by Penguin, but their editors upon reading Fr. Summers' manuscript dropped the project post-haste, the work eventually being issued under the auspices of Rider & Company.

In fact this authoritative treatise is likely to rankle with many whose world-view has been shaped by modernity and its nihilistic creed of amorality and anti-theism - in consideration of the unbridled proliferation of satanism, witchcraft and occultism during in the last 50 years Fr. Summers words have likely gained rather than diminished in relevance. As the Reverend Summers asserts: ' The existence of evil surely needs no argument, no proof: it is self-evident, a vivid and terrible reality. The power of evil - who can look out upon the world today, a world shattered and wounded and rent, and not recognise its cruel tyranny?' Thus Summers sets the tone for his survey of the demonic cults of hell, heterodoxy, subversion and malignity which have their mysterious roots in darkest antiquity and which in fungus-like manner flare up at intervals over the centuries, finding, it would seem, a peculiarly congenial climate in our own day, thriving in a cultural morass of blind materialistic arrogance, overweening ego-hubris and rudderless relativism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Underwood on 22 April 2009
Format: Paperback
An interesting read, don't buy it if you want spells though, this book is more about the history of witchcraft. Sometimes a bit of a difficult read though. would recommend though.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Another Work on Witchcraft from the Rev Montague Summers 26 Nov. 2002
By Matthew S. Schweitzer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is yet another treatise on the history of witchcraft and the occult by the ubiquitous early 20th century occult writer Montague Summers. This work, originally published in 1946, just two years before Summers' death, deals with more of the same material Summers covers better in his earlier work "History of Witchcraft and Demonology". Here he further covers witchcraft and occult lore and superstition, the history of witchcraft from anicent to early modern times, including the period of the witchcraze. He vividly includes such scadalous and lurid topics as diabolic pacts with Satan, invocation and copulation with demons, necromancy, and all the attendant myths and legends passed down through history corncerning these subjects. As an occult or witchcraft history, while quite interesting, this is really ground covered before by Summers and others. Summers himself was a eccentric but devoted occult historian who wrote many books on this and related subjects such as vampires, werewolves, and edited and translated several important early demonology and witchcraft texts such as the "Malleus Maleficarum", "Compendium Maleficarum", "The Discovery of Witchcraft", and others. His credulity and fanaticism calls his scholarship into question and his translations of many works are considered suspect. Despite these shortcomings, Summers was, to say the least, an interesting and prolific author.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Trying to be Fair 10 Nov. 2004
By paul mason - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Granted this book was published in 1946 I believe. Anyway it is not the most up to date treatise ever on the subject, which is what I had to bear in mind as I read it.

The preface and first chapter tie witchcraft to Satanism in a very no holds barred manner, brooking no debate. Even though I am not a practising witch or wiccan I found that offensive until I reminded myself on Summer's background and the age of text.

This is a history of witchcraft and Black magic and is interesting in that even though some chapter headings confused me as it took awhile for Summers to broach the various headings subjects. In other words it seemed like chapters were not neccessarily about descriptive paragraph headings.

This is an interesting history and Summers is quite extensive in his subject matter covered my other critique would be the absence of Aleister Crowley's absence from these pages.

Still an interesting and somewhat educational read.
Nonsense 12 Sept. 2014
By andrea schmidt-baumann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is utter nonsense. Stay away from it. Summers was either totally crazy or a total crook. He claims (or at least pretends) to believe in the reality of witchcraft. Everything medieval and early modern authors had to say about witches is, according to Summers, simply the truth. Summers justifies the witch hunts shamelessly. This book is an insult to all the victims of the witch craze. Don't get me wrong: I'm not a Wicca or something like that, I'm just interested in serious history. And this is clearly no serious history. I wonder why the publishers keep reprinting Summers' nonsense. I suppose the copyright expired and they can do what they like with the old stuff. Don't throw your money away on outdated hooey. If you want to learn something about the witch hunts read something more modern written by a real historian.
Monty Summers was one creepy individual. Had a flair ... 8 Feb. 2015
By Vintage man - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Monty Summers was one creepy individual. Had a flair for the dramatic, and writes as if he is living in 17th century England. Summers "really" believed warlocks and practitioners of the black arts could harm people and alter future events through the practice of sorcery. Slow reading, but worthwhile if you have an afternoon to kill, when the sun ain't shinin'.
17 of 26 people found the following review helpful
NOT VERY READABLE 4 Jan. 2001
By Adolf Yew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is more concern with the history and folklore of witchcraft. So if you are looking for a "How-To" book on witchcraft you're bound to be disappointed. The book is written in a very formal, dry manner. It is too 'academic' and 'heavy' for an inspirational or even a casual read. Not recommended for the uninitiated or beginner. On the plus side, this book is factually accurate.
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