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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warts and all.
Crowley has always been a figure deserving of a good biography but untill now he has only ever been portrayed as a charlatan and a pervert. Sutin has tried to draw up a picture of the man without exaggerating or overdramatising him. He never mocks Crowley's vocation and reports on his rituals and experiments with admirable impartiality, giving more credibility to the man...
Published on 7 July 2002

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars overlong
An exhaustive biography but suffers from too much detail over minutae. Could easily be 100 pages shorter
Published on 23 July 2009 by Nick Hindley


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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warts and all., 7 July 2002
By A Customer
Crowley has always been a figure deserving of a good biography but untill now he has only ever been portrayed as a charlatan and a pervert. Sutin has tried to draw up a picture of the man without exaggerating or overdramatising him. He never mocks Crowley's vocation and reports on his rituals and experiments with admirable impartiality, giving more credibility to the man as a whole. Overall, Crowley does not come across as a likeable person; he is arrogant, misogynous, intolerant, xenophobic etc But he is also shown as intelligent and capable and, in some cases, justified in his arrogance. Importantly the book never becomes boring, Sutin does not dwell on the more lurid details nor does he resort to reporting anecdotes or rumours. Some well known stories about the man are notably absent from the book. Probably the main problem about with this biography is the lack of concrete fact about Crowley. A good deal of the information in the book is drawn from Crowley's own autobiography and, as Sutin points out, Crowley is not always to be believed.
Overall the book is an enjoyable read, although those looking for sensational and lurid stories may want to look elsewhere, those with an interest in the magickal philosophy of Crowley, will be glad to see that it is presented with the respect that maybe it deserves.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kether on the biog tree of life!, 30 Sep 2003
By 
M. Fitzgerald (Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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Having read nine other biographies of A.C. I consider this to be in many regards the best. Sutin has here managed a thorough and fair treatment of the head spinning character that is Crowley, whom we follow up mountains, through deserts, into psychedelic discombobulation and beyond. Sutin has a great style which carries the reader smoothly through A.C.'s incredible life, never relying too much on extracts from the 'Confessions' as others have done. I feel Sutin's dedication to this book was immense; it really is a superb addition to the library dedicated to Crowley, oozing high quality research and sanity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Thelemites and Crowley scholars, 2 Sep 2010
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This review is from: Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley (Paperback)
Whether you think this is the best Crowley biography or not it's certainly a "must read" for anyone seriously interested in the man and/or his magick .... but be warned, if all you want is a quick tabloid style bio with a lot of "sex and satanism" you'll be bored after the first few pages.

Comphrehensive and admirably unbiased this fat book gives you as balanced a picture of Crowley's often complicated life and equally complicated magickal philosophy as is possible today when so many of the details suffer from exaggeration and hearsay -Crowley's death being a classic example.

You should certainly understand Crowley better after reading Sutin, even though you still might not like him.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Definitive Biopgraphy, 22 Feb 2010
By 
Ms. M. M. L. Packwood (Wellingborough UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley (Paperback)
Perhaps you are a member of the Fine Madness Society that keeps you interested in Crowley, or perhaps you just want to understand the motivation behind the man that was Aleister Crowley. In either case this is the best biography to date. Lawrence Sutin has done his homework and has researched through letters and interviews the whole of Crowley's life. In particular the section on his childhood and adolescence is longer and better researched than John Symonds. Symonds was a friend of Crowley's and in his book The Great Beast he seems to have written what he was told or known through others. Sutin has read all of Crowley's work and magical workings to give us a greater sense of the real Crowley. He distinguishes the real Crowley from the media image and Celebrity image Crowley himself was apt to spin around him. He puts the flesh on the skeleton Symonds has offered us. I was particularly glad that Sutin has been at pains to reveal the reality behind the myth of Crowley's link to the Third Reich. He was not acknowledged by Hilter, though Hilter may have read a book of Crowley's - nor was he a spy during World War II. It seems that underneath his malevolent claptrap Crowley was a patriot and as photos have shown, a supporter of Winston Churchill. His friend and a great support in Germany, Germer had to flee to New York after a time imprisoned by the Nazis. Crowley's homosexuality is here revealed by Sutin during his long sexual career when he was as attracted to men as to women. In particular his great love at Trinity College and his bond to Victor Neuberg and their magical workings. The loyalty of Leah Waddell is described as well as the fact that he was not involved sexually with Frieda Harris who was 60 when he first met her. Crowley died in 1947 and you are aware at the end of how he might have lived for another 20 years if it were not for his drug addiction and deteriorating health due to this. Like a dead Star he burnt out early.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into a completely misunderstood figure., 20 Dec 2013
By 
R. CURRIE - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley (Paperback)
A very well written and researched book. If you want to find out more about Crowley and have ever wondered what the reality was behind this divisive and controversial individual this is a great introduction. Surprisingly easy and enjoyable read. I highly recommend reading this before attempting to read any of his own works.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Study book for degree, 24 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley (Paperback)
I am very much interested in reading this book as i am highly fascinated by him and his beliefs.....thank you!
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5.0 out of 5 stars widely regarded as an excellent book and I agree, 27 July 2010
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This review is from: Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley (Paperback)
Very very well written -- apart from some minor proof-reading errors which are obviously not the author's fault.-- full of extra tit-bits detailing AC's bizarre nature and reactions to situations. Vividly brings the character of AC to life and is written intelligently in a flowing style that makes it as much a page turner as the best 'thriller'. One of the best. Read in conjunction with 'Secret Agent 666' Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occultyou have a more complete picture than is possible with either book alone.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars overlong, 23 July 2009
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This review is from: Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley (Paperback)
An exhaustive biography but suffers from too much detail over minutae. Could easily be 100 pages shorter
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Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley
Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley by Lawrence Sutin (Paperback - 1 April 2002)
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