I bought this book after reading 'The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail' as I wanted to learn more about the subject of Rosicrucianism. I wasn't disappointed. Yates manages to successfully explore the Rosicrucian movement in a cultural/historical context, examining a large body of source material (including both pictures and text) in order to attempt to trace the evolution of this secret organisation. I would mention that this is not a book which focuses upon the supernatural mystique associated with the Knights Templar etc. so don't buy this if you're looking for myth and magic. It can be pretty hard-going at times, but if you want to understand and widen your interest in esoterica, then this is an essential title to have in your collection.
This book got me thinking again. I picked it up on impulse and even though it demands concentration and time, couldn't put it down and was sad when it was finished. It encouraged me to read other works by Francis Yates which were equally enriching. The book opens up a aspect of history that was unknown to me and put other areas that I did know about in a broader perspective.
Yates did a superb job writing about Giordano Bruno and has done the same with the Rosicrucians. It is an academic approach that is accessible and also enjoyable and hugely readable in spite of being quite complex: it is, after all, a very complex subject but Yates manages to take us on a learned and fascinating journey from the alchemists to Christian Rosencrutz. Yates is a historian and not an occultist and this academic rigor makes the difference.
Anyone interested in buying this book should be aware that it is a history book dealing with an esoteric subject and not an esoteric approach to a historical study.
Yates gives us a good insight into the political, religious and ideological motivations behind the rosicrucians.
Frances Yates shows in this book the philosophical, theosophical, and political currents that created our modern view of scientific study. This is a must read for anybody who has followed her work on the Renaissance.