Aleister Crowley: The Beast Demystified Paperback – 6 Apr 2006
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"An astonishing book . . . Crowley was one of the most infamous figures of the first half of the twentieth century" (Daily Mail)
"Hutchinson means what he says about demystifying his subject - by the biography's end there's not a stone left unturned" (The Scotsman)
"A level-headed reappraisal of a man whose fantasies were fuelled as much by self-publicity as by any real demonic contact" (Scotland on Sunday)
"Well informed and cool-headed . . . one can see that Crowley's own words would be of little use in conveying the facts of his life, which Hutchinson does admirably" (New York Times)
About the Author
Roger Hutchinson is an award-winning author and journalist. He lives on the Isle of Raasay.
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Top Customer Reviews
Crowley is a fascinating character, about whom an awful lot of drivel (both demonising and deifying) has been written. So the task of demystification is a very worthwhile one, as I suspect he will still be a fascinating character even when all that rubbish written about him has been cleared away and we're left with only the truth (or closest you can expect to get to the truth).
It was especially important that this author gave his sources as I noticed a couple of inaccuracies regarding Somerset Maugham (whom I'm no expert on). On page 95 Maugham is described as being 26 in 1902 (he was born 30/11/1874), and on page 99 'The Magician' was described as his second novel (according to 'The Reader's Companion to Twentieth Century Writers' it was his 8th).
This book is also far too short, and has the feel of a piece of journalism knocked off quickly for the money. We can't know if this was the author's fault or the publisher's. In its brevity it omits a lot of things I've read about Crowley elsewhere that could do with a dose of demystification, for example his rather unbelievable chess-playing ability which only gets one very brief mention. (It isn't, perhaps, a failing that the 'magick' isn't treated in depth, as it would be insulting to the reader's intelligence to treat that nonsense as anything more than an excuse to dress up, boss gullible people about and generally play silly buggers.Read more ›
If you want a quick, readable, amusing, general introduction to Crowley's life and work I'd suggest "The Magical World of Aleister Crowley" by Francis King. It's about the same length as Hutchinson's book, but far more interesting and informative. "Confessions of Aleister Crowley" by the man himself is very long, but very entertaining and interesting- though not of course wholly reliable! There's lots of other books by and about Crowley. But for heaven's sake don't waste a penny of your cash, or a minute of your time, on this one!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Oh yes - the beast has been demystified. I bought this as an intro to the man - now I don't want one, and I don't want to go any further. Read morePublished on 12 April 2013 by Graham Ellis
SCARY TO SAY THE LEAST I WAS FASCINATED BY HIS ANTICS AND THE INFLUENCES - A WELL WRITTEN AND IN DEPTH BOOK ABOUT THIS MAN?Published on 7 Dec. 2012 by paddymccarty-uk
I haven't actually finished reading this book yet, but it has annoyed me so much I feel the necessity of writing an interim review.
Frankly this book is atrocious. Read more
This book carefully examines the life of Aleister Crowley taking great care not to take sides, which considering the subject matter, is not an easy feat. Read morePublished on 5 Dec. 2001 by email@example.com
Has Roger Hutchinson demystified the Beast? Yes, because he has managed to write a truly dull account of someone dubbed the Wickedest Man in the World. Read morePublished on 8 July 2000
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