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on 8 August 2009
I bought a copy of this at a bookshop in Glastonbury i jest not !
For decades,ever since coming across Von Danikens "Chariots of the Gods" i have tried to find out more on the subject of ancient mythology -for want of a better expression.
I cannot really think of a "proper "name for this type of area of study,is it ancient religon,mythology,sacred texts,alien insemination/interference ?
Anyway,it matters not really what one would call it, but this book is one of the best examples of the "subject",to say it was written in the late 1920,s by a man who was only in his twenties is awesome.
The reach and depth of the subject matter is just breathtaking.Over the years i have opted to become "pagan " in my choice of lifestyle/culture/divination and i wish i had access to this book a long time ago.It really does act as a guide to ALL areas of esoteric matters.
The style of writting is ,of course,a little old fashioned,but once you become accustomed to the language,you become immersed in the absolute arcane knowledge available to anyone with enough time and will to actually read this volume.
The detail is so immense that you can become a little bogged down with certain areas,e.g the details of the Great Pyramid at Cheops,so instance.
But this issue aside,the book has truly become my "guide"in terms of the ability to research virtually any esoteric subject.You can sit down and read the whole thing (take 4 weeks off work first !) or use it ,as i do,by choosing a particular chapter of interest,which then acts as a stand-alone work in its own right.
In this increasingly crowded market of books covering similar areas such as 2012,Illuminati,Reptililian interbreeding,Conspiracy theories,Mind control,Alien influence or simply "The Secrets", this is the one that all independant thinkers should use as their ultimate reference.You will find that so much of what you come across in other books has been lifted lock ,stock and barrel from this tome.
Thank the Gods that this is still out there and in print.Quite simply,for anyone,young or old with an interest in the "Truth" this is the defining work.
Fully recommended
Love,peace and truth
Richard P.
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on 24 September 2014
In its original format, this is an incredible book - truly a life-changing read. I have read a pdf version of this book which is over 600 pages long. I bought this version to add to my physical bookshelf, and I was hugely disappointed to discover that this version has zero illustrations! Not one! This makes the book only 200 or so pages long, and makes a true discussion and analysis of *symbolism* almost impossible. Such a shame. How can we appreciate the intricate symbols and embellishments of ancient and secret societies without any illustrations? My advice would be to avoid this incomplete version, and find a copy with illustrations.
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VINE VOICEon 26 April 2011
I have struggled manfully through the first 200 pages of this volume so far and it is excruciating.

This is not in any way because of the writing of Manly Hall, which is a staggeringly erudite treasury of what I suppose could be termed Western esotericism. The fact that Hall wrote this at such a young age and in so short a space of time makes this book even more impressive. The title is kind of correct - this is an encyclopedic outline - but the book's scope takes in just so much that limiting the title to Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian symbolic philosophy doesn't seem to do it full justice. If you're looking for a one-volume esoteric reference then you should consider The Secret Teachings...

...published by someone else.

This really is by a country mile the worst editing and proofing of a book I have ever seen. It should be recalled and pulped because every page is absolutely littered with the most horrendous errors that you have to fight your way through the text, translating, transposing, reconstructing, head scratching and second-guessing. I suspect the fault here lies with the production method of Forgotten Books which, I'm guessing, is using some kind of OCR scanning of original texts and then publishing books digitally on a 'print to order' basis. This is potentially an exciting new way to publish perhaps out of print and niche books but the OCR software isn't very good, the printing quality is shabby (all illustrations are pixellated to the extent that they make little sense) and the proof reading is nil.

The result? Bizarre punctuation, with commas, full stops and capital letters interspersed at absolute random throughout the text, tripping up and confounding any possible flow. Typos EVERYWHERE, some caused by obvious poor scanning software ('modem' appears a lot in place of 'modern'). Paragraphs just petering out...literally just ending mid sentence leaving you searching the page for where the text might be taken up again but, no, it's just disappeared. Sub-paragraphs to explain illustrations and figures appear 'in-line' with the main body of the text...not in a box, or indented or in any way separated from the main text, so the notes to accompany a diagram (which you can't really discern any detail of anyway because of the pixellation) may appear half way through a paragraph of regular text.

Oh, and my binding started to give way as soon as I opened the book.

Honestly, if this book is anything to go by, avoid Forgotten Books like the plague.
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on 3 November 2013
seems that this is some kind of cheap reproduction of the book. The bibliography is completely missing, there are no pictures in the book (which are mentioned in the prologue) and appears a much abridged version in general.
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on 13 May 2015
Probably the most insightful book I have ever read. Hall was an exceptional individual with a captivatingly easy manner. This was an absorbing read. Having said that, I had thought that I was suitably prepared for this having just studied Blavatsky's writings on Isis, but I frequently found myself putting it down, but only to take notes, lest a morsel of the accumulated knowledge in this great work should elude me. It's difficult to believe tbat he was so young when he wrote this, because knowledge and understanding at this depth, is more consistent with a lifetime of searching for and finding such ancient pearls of wisdom.
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on 30 May 2015
pretty good review of the subject, comprehensive but necessarily concise given the size of the volume, proof reading was not great and there are a few errors in the text but nothing one can't read around. Good introduction to a number of topics.
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on 8 October 2011
a very interesting read and at points a little difficult as well, but it is exactly what it says it is, but to anyone who takes in this knowledge the book itself will open new doors for you to explore a sure must read for anybody interested in growing there minds
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on 23 August 1998
I can not add better insight to the review given by "". However, there is strength in numbers, and I want to add my voice to encourage those who might be interested in reading this book. It's true there was a paperback version of this book as well.
This particular work focuses on some of the mysteries from the cradle of Western Civilization. It is also interesting to review this from the stand point of mainstream religions and the odd periphery of the origins of these (mostly western) religions. Although there is much more to the book than just that.
If you enjoyed "Focault's Pendulum" this book gives great background to some of Umberto Ecco's arcanum. Conspiracy theorist will also enjoy the section on Francis Bacon.
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on 15 October 2008
This book deserves 5 stars. I take it out each weekend and only read a chapter or two, as the depth of information is abyssal. Yet it is written in a gentle and enticing manner. Also, the diagrams and full page paintings are stunning to look at. It really is a gem.
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on 31 March 2000
It tought me things ive never even thought about
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