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The History of British Magic After Crowley: Kenneth Grant, Amado Crowley, Chaos Magic, Satanism, Lovecraft, the Left Hand Path, Blasphemy and Magical Morality Paperback – 1 Apr 2007
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"provocative thought provoking ... certainly quite different to any previous history you might have read" -- Mogg Morgan, Mandrake Speaks Newsletter number 201, Summer 2007
Dave Evans has managed to write a `sensible' book on a not-sensible subject
-- Alaistair Livingstone, Greengalloway Blog, Spring 2007
exhibits high standards of research...contains new and previously unpublished material... a work of reference for generations to come. -- Peter J Carroll, Arcanorium College internal newsletter, Summer 2007
From the Author
Dr Dave Evans
Top customer reviews
Dave Evans has approached this very diverse subject with a thoroughly investigative mind. Because of this; this could have turned out to have been a very dry account of the history of 20th century magic - with research having been drawn from all of the usual common sources for its content. Instead this is more a social commentary of the people, writers and major characters involved into which the author successfully infuses his own unique perspective as a magician. He draws his material from a wide range of sources and through personal connections that most other writers simply do not have.
I found the section on Chaos Magic to be perhaps the most illuminating explanation of this tricky aspect of modern occultism I have read so far. For those 'traditionalists' who prefer their magick full of pomp and ceremony this will not be a comfortable read. Nevertheless it is an important branch of Thelema and needs the sort of unbiased investigation that the author has given it.
This is a big book in all regards but a couple of chapters into it and I was completely hooked. Taken overall this turned out to be a darned good purchase and thoroughly engaging read! There is no other book on the market today that covers so much ground in such an informative and fascinating way. I thoroughly recommend it to all occultists of all persuasions as an important addition to their libraries. For those buyers looking for a more concise and introductory guide to the legacy that Crowley left us I also recommend by the same author 'Aleister Crowley and the 20th Century Synthesis of Magick' Aleister Crowley and the 20th Century Synthesis of Magick: Strange Distant Gods That are Not Dead Today
He fails to mention organisations like the Order of the cubic stone, and magicians like Madeleine Montalban and references to other practicing magicians are sketchy and incomplete. It concentrates on Kenneth Grant and Amado Crowley who are far from representative of post Crowleyan magic(K) in the UK as any internet search will show. What the book needs more than anything is a good editor to knock it into shape as Mr Evans writing style reminds me of A E Waite on a bad day.
It's this accent on Dave's personal experiences that destroy what could and should have been a landmark book. For example, he spends a long time, some would say too long, in describing the cultural and social background in the UK - with the occasional US reference - post Crowley's death. He isolates those influences that, in his opinion, helped develop something of a magical renaissance which gave forth Chaos, or Kaos, Magic. And somehow in this catalogue, he manages to ignore the movie industry. No mention of Rosemary's Baby, The Omen or The Exorcist. No mention of Hammer's Dracula series. . .movies which may be beneath a modern magician's contempt, but which were hugely influential in their day. Dave Evans also manages to ignore the influence quantum mechanics has had on the whole subject of magic, from The Dancing Wu Li Masters - which compared quantum with the Tao - to M John Harrison's superb novel, 'Light'. It's enough to make a good Gnostic despair. Check out Amazon, Dave, and see how many books there are which combine magic and quantum. Justina Robson would be a good start. Which leads to another point: This book does seem to be, well, just a tad sexist. This is not a PC cri de coeur, only a reminder that a great deal of recent magical development has been undertaken by women. Although come to think of it, those pesky Druids always were ever so slightly chauvinistic. Have beard, will cast runes. Computer nerdish, too. This is a book that promises a great deal and delivers little more than one could divine from the Atlantis Bookshop's noticeboard. All too often it sighs with a breathless oh-wow approach better suited to a review of the latest computer game. It began life as a PhD thesis (what could Dave's supervisor have been thinking?) and it shows: too many unecessary footnotes; far too many student-like jokes and asides; pointless non-sequiturs; points unmercifully belaboured; endless pointed comments about the hapless Amado - like we really care? - which would be more at home in a blog. Oh, and Dave: if you're going to mention JK Rowling (and we do all, actually, know how rich she is), then you really should mention Philip Pullman and his Dark Materials. Discworld has a certain relevance, too. Finally, this book acts as an awful warning to never, ever, try and edit your own work. Or ask friends and relations to help. Hire a professional and listen to them. Learn about structure and syntax. And think about your book from the reader's point of view. We're the ones paying for it.
And what still really annoys is the suspicion that Dave Evans could have written a good, very worthwhile - even seminal - book. So maybe we should blame his PhD supervisor. No, blame Dave. It's his name on the cover.