5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Meaning of Witchcraft (Paperback)
All students of Wicca (whether traditional or eclectic) and anyone interested in the history and development of modern witchcraft/neo-paganism should read this book. While it is true that there were a variety of occultists before Gardner (he drew heavily from the OTO, Golden Dawn, Crowley and Freemason's rites), he can rightly be credited with starting the witchcraft (as opposed to ceremonial magic) revolution.
Modern scholarship disputes his claims to a religion stretching back in an unbroken line to the dawn of time, claims which were based largely on the dodgy history of Margaret Murray (read Ronald Hutton, or Drawing Down the Moon for more info), however his insights are still being used - regardless of whether the history he was aware of was accurate or not.
Some of the things to be noted are that Gardner specifically states that he is unable to give exact details of Wiccan beliefs - for instance, the names of the gods, witch language or specific practises - so he gives a general outline. I have heard it argued that because of this, those trained outside traditional lineaged Wicca cannot call themselves Wiccan as they do not have the requisite inner knowledge. That is an argument for others, but it is certainly an interesting book and well worth reading.