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on 2 March 2012
The coming of this book was long awaited. For years after the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, little information about its founder reached UK shores: the man dubbed "The Black Pope" by many of his followers. Anton Szandor LaVey's "Satanic Bible" itself did not appear in Britain until 1977. The book's Introduction (by Burton H. Wolfe) remained the only biographical sketch of LaVey until Blanche Barton's authorized biography first appeared in 1992.

It's all here: Anton LaVey's early life and his careers on the Carnival circuit, at the Clyde Beatty Circus (where he became a Lion-handler), as an Organist in clubs, bars and Burlesque houses, and as a Crime Photographer with the San Francisco Police Department. As described in detail in the book, all of these experiences combined to form a precise, misanthropic world view inside the mind of Anton LaVey: a raw, earthy, Godless, pragmatic perception. This combined with his life-long fascination with the Paranormal and what was loosely termed "The Occult". Like so many other genuine seekers, LaVey duly consulted the existing, traditional reservoir of Esoteric literature - and was singularly unimpressed. He had his own ideas about Magic and Occultism, perceiving that what was commonly referred to as "Witchcraft" was nothing less than an offshoot of Christianity. Self-styled "Witches" and "Pagans" and the rest clearly dwelt inside of a realm of religious, Christian Mysticism, where the Forces of "Good" & "Evil" were said to be at war perpetually. LaVey clearly saw that the advocates, proponents, adherents, Seers, Gurus, Witches and other representatives of the existing mainstream, popular Occult movement had created a "White" & "Black" Magic directly in accordance with this arbitrary, theological, Christian dogmatic "Good" & "Evil" blueprint. For LaVey, the Satan that both Christianity and the mainstream "White" ("Good") Occult community feared, loathed, condemned and warned about was the source of all true Magic - which was neither "White" nor "Black". Moreover, Satan had existed as a historically Evil power because He represented independent thought, belief and behaviour, and vital individualism. The Devil was the very antithesis of mass-indoctrinated thought, belief and behaviour; the polar opposite to human herd constraints, false-values and strictures.

Other factors which are detailed in the book combined with LaVey's growing sense of Magical Purpose. His disdain for both organized religions and established Occultism grew into undiluted Hate. It was both inexorable and inevitable that Anton LaVey should finally found the Church of Satan on 30th April 1966.

Beyond the Church of Satan historical chronicle, Blanche Barton gives the reader an insight into LaVey's Satanic, Earthly philosophy, outlining his identification of an "Invisible War" that could only really be won in the end by the astute, the intelligent and the independent. But there is one Chapter which I find particularly interesting: "Curses & Coincidences" is a short-list of entirely verifiable occurences in connection with LaVey and the undeniable Magic powers that emanated from him.

With Blanche Barton's "The Church Of Satan" having long been out of print, "The Secret Life Of A Satanist" remains the definitive overview of the life and philosophy of Anton Szandor LaVey.
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on 3 November 2013
There are very few entertaining - or even readable, autobiographies by occultists. I can only really think of a couple that I have read that I would recommend (Maybe 'Meetings With Remarkable Men' and 'Confessions of Aleister Crowley' are two worth checking out). It seems that whilst the practice of magick can be exciting very often the same cannot be said of the people who practice it!

'The Secret Life of a Satanist' is without doubt a refreshing exception for it tells the story of a man who really cared little about what the world thought of him - he just got on living his life the way that he thought was right for him. As a result he had a story to tell and irrespective of what you thought about his brand of Satanism (which personally I failed to find the slightest bit offensive) his character and persona shone through and touched everyone he associated with. Sure, like all magickians, he made a few enemies along the way but that is invariably the way for any one who carves their own niche through life!

This book is a great read and offers a wonderful example to us all that life is meant to be lived and not spent pontificating ..... having said which I shall now shut up and shove off! Recommended!
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on 3 October 1999
Being a fan of LaVey's writings, I found this biography great fun to read. He was obviously an intelligent and learned man, but never forget, dear readers, he was a carny hand years before he founded the Church Of Satan. As long as you realise that his Satanism was really just satire of religious hypocrites and a bit of titilation thrown in for fun, you'll get a lot from this book! Just don't beleive a word of it!
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on 10 July 1999
This is a must have,rating second to the Satanic bible.If any one new to Satanism wants to learn the most important details of it,this book is the only start.
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on 12 May 1998
An informative account of the development of a philosophy unlike any other; from the perspective of a misanthropic genius. An amazing man, an amazing life and an incredible tale. This book is recommended reading for anyone interested in contemporary Satanism, the Church of Satan and its founder, Dr. Anton Szandor LaVey. Four Stars!!!
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on 1 May 1997
The most entertaining and insightful biography that I have read in years:truly an o utstanding read for anyone with an interest in Mr LaVey or the Church of Satan.This review is by Abaddon.
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on 1 May 1997
The most entertaining and insightful biography that I have read in years:truly an utstanding read for anyone with an interest in Mr LaVey or the Church of Satan.This review is by Abaddon.
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on 20 May 1996
Anton La Vey's life is a worthy opponent to any soap opera!
Action, excitement, and romance.. live vicariously through
this book!
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on 25 March 2015
handed this to my local jehova's wittenes that keeps knocking on my dam door.... they have yet to come back and its been months. BEST 10 BUCKS IVE EVER SPENT
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on 20 January 1999
This was a good time read! Dispelled many misconceptions for me. Mind opening experience!
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