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Full of promises, but poor stuff.
on 23 March 2009
A number of good books about alchemy have been written since the revival of interest during the twentieth century, but this isn't really one of them. The sub-title describes the book as "A manual for practical laboratory alchemy", but the practical bits are essentially the ordinary techniques of any chemistry laboratory, and the rest is pretty dubious stuff.
Distilling your own alcohol and using it to extract drugs (pharmaceutical or otherwise) is described in some detail, and might explain the book's appeal in some quarters (though there are better descriptions now on the net). The author is vague about other achievements, but the metallic preparations he has made "after a long and wearisome process" seem to be ordinary substances that can be made without too much trouble by any competent chemist.
Albertus is heavily into Rosicrucianism, mysticism, and the need for initiatiation into the secret knowledge of the sages. These beliefs were common enough in later alchemy, but by no means universal. The book is essentially a curiosity, the work of someone actually claiming to practise alchemy as late as the twentieth century. His own particular mystical views are not representative of alchemy as a whole, and if he is not exaggerating the difficulties of his laboratory work, he doesn't seem to have been all that good at it.