Most helpful positive review
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Warts and all.
on 7 July 2002
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.