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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best bios ever
In the countless bios that I've read of Aleister Crowley, Marjorie Cameron was almost a mere footnote, being associated with Crowley's American follower Jack Parsons.

In the meager writings by and about Jack Parsons Cameron was elevated somewhat to celebrity by osmosis, being that she was Parsons' 'scarlet woman' for a bit.

When Parsons died...
Published on 30 Oct 2011 by David Krueger

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Missed Opportunity...
Spencer Kansa describes this biography of Marjorie Cameron as a 'labour of love' to which he dedicated four years of his life. It certainly contains a wealth of material about Cameron, including original research and many quotes from interviews with those who knew her. Kansa clearly has an enthusiasm for and rapport with his subject. That's the good news...

The...
Published 21 months ago by Bretonista


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best bios ever, 30 Oct 2011
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David Krueger "msreed" (New Jersey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wormwood Star: The Magickal Life of Marjorie Cameron (Paperback)
In the countless bios that I've read of Aleister Crowley, Marjorie Cameron was almost a mere footnote, being associated with Crowley's American follower Jack Parsons.

In the meager writings by and about Jack Parsons Cameron was elevated somewhat to celebrity by osmosis, being that she was Parsons' 'scarlet woman' for a bit.

When Parsons died tragically in an explosion Cameron was not heard from again, by me anyway, and I yearned to learn about her life after Parsons.

This startlingly good bio from Spencer Kansa has put put Cameron back into the public eye.

I imagine that it's a daunting task to write a bio of a woman as mysterious as Cameron.

Since so little was written about her there is no chance of doing a hack job, a book that is a mere rewriting of other books and newspaper items.

Writing about Marjorie Cameron's life would take research and Spencer Kansa did just that, and then some.

Just the right amount of time is spent on Cameron's interesting childhood and early adulthood which led to her meeting Parsons and taking part in the occult rituals that he was performing in 1940s California. It was also interesting to learn that Cameron also did a stint in the military during WW2.

After Parson's death the life that Cameron led was astounding from her early beatnik days of living alone in a remote shack, to her time in the art scene of 50s California, her continual dabbling in the occult and her unsuccesful trip to Europe to meet Crowley. He died before she got there.

Through all her changes Cameron stayed true to her art and painted extremely interesting and frightening works, many of which she destroyed for reasons of her own. All data that I was totally unaware of before reading this book.

Falling in with film director Kenneth Anger Cameron starred in some of his works and stole the show as she did in the Curtis Harrington film 'Night Tide', with Dennis Hopper.

The book shows how effortlessly Cameron moved from the beatnik era to the hippie era, like a female Neal Cassady.

Check out the photos of a young tough chick Cameron, red hair up, ciggie in hand, with Parsons in the 40s. Then check out her mid life photos in long hair and hippie garb and in later life, grey hair down to her shoulders and hugging a tree.

Never have I read a bio where the writing and the photos mirror each other as in this book and I have read a lot of bios.

Highly recommended for anybody interested in the life of a very interesting and exotic woman artist who lived by her own rules.

I read somewhere that a Herbert Huncke bio is in the works. I can only hope that Spencer Kansa is the author of that book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Missed Opportunity..., 22 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Wormwood Star: The Magickal Life of Marjorie Cameron (Paperback)
Spencer Kansa describes this biography of Marjorie Cameron as a 'labour of love' to which he dedicated four years of his life. It certainly contains a wealth of material about Cameron, including original research and many quotes from interviews with those who knew her. Kansa clearly has an enthusiasm for and rapport with his subject. That's the good news...

The bad news is that Kansa is such an appallingly slapdash writer that this book will annoy anyone who expects so much as a minimum standard of competency in their reading matter. The typos, like the daemonic denizens of the astral realm, are legion - and would have been easily picked up, in most cases, by the use of a simple spell checking and grammar checking tool. Kansa's style is a queasy mixture of outdated West Coast slang, name dropping, and cliché. He reproduces the many interviews that punctuate the text almost verbatim, and has an annoying high school habit of rendering an interviewee's laughter in the form of the words 'ha ha', which he sprinkles liberally throughout the transcripts.

Nor does Kansa at any point take a step back from his subject and attempt any sort of overview. There is no attempt to assess Cameron's importance either as a practitioner of magic or as an artist. On the latter point, the (perhaps understandable) refusal to permit the author to include Cameron's drawings and paintings in the book hardly helps.

Equally disappointing is the production quality of the book. The font and layout suggest that it was put together using Word and simply imported into a bespoke online printing engine, while the photos are for the most part smudgy grey scans. The book has clearly not been sub-edited at any point, and in this sense the publisher - Mandrake - is at least as culpable as the author.

As it stands, this book is the only substantial available resource covering the life and work of Cameron, hence the two stars. But it really does represent a missed opportunity on the part of both author and publisher. It could have been so much more. Might I suggest to Mr Kansa that next time he dedicates four years of his life to a project, he at least takes the time to run the resulting text through a spell check?
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Wormwood Star: The Magickal Life of Marjorie Cameron
Wormwood Star: The Magickal Life of Marjorie Cameron by Spencer Kansa (Paperback - 1 Jan 2011)
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