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Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley - rev. & exp.|
Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley
Author: Richard Kaczynski
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Category: biography, occult, thelema, magick Level: All
Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley
revised and expanded 2nd edition
$29.95, hard cover, 712 pages
North Atlantic Books
Perdurabo traces Aleister Crowley’s remarkable journey from his birth as the only son of a wealthy lay preacher to his death in a boarding house as one of the most notorious men of his day. Crowley, a tireless magician, prophet, poet, and adventurer, has inspired generations of social and spiritual truth-seekers and has shaped modern popular culture through his philosophy of “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” Taking an evenhanded and accessible approach to an extremely controversial figure, author Richard Kaczynski draws from his extensive academic and personal expertise with the subject matter to present Crowley’s story in a way that is unmatched by any other biographer. Based on twenty years of research and including previously unpublished biographical details and photographs, this revised and expanded edition is an illuminating biography of one of the most colorful and fascinating characters of the twentieth century.
The name “Aleister Crowley” instantly conjures visions of diabolic ceremonies and orgiastic indulgences—and while the sardonic Crowley would perhaps be the last to challenge such a view, he was also much more than “the Beast, ” as this authoritative biography shows. Perdurabo (the magical name Crowley chose when inducted into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) traces Crowley’s remarkable journey from his birth as the only son of a wealthy lay preacher to his death in a boarding house as the world’s foremost authority on magick. Along the way, he rebels against his conservative religious upbringing; befriends famous artists, writers, and philosophers (and becomes a poet himself ) ; is attacked for his practice of “the black arts”; and teaches that science and magick can work together. While seeking to spread his infamous philosophy of “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law, ” Crowley becomes one of the most notorious figures of his day. Based on Richard Kaczynski’s twenty years of research, and including previously unpublished biographical details, Perdurabo paints a memorable portrait of the man who inspired the counterculture and influenced generations of artists, punks, wiccans, and other denizens of the demimonde.
Richard Kaczynski, PhD, is the author of The Weiser Concise Guide to Aleister Crowley, editor/annotator of a forthcoming edition of Crowley’s The Sword of Song, and co-editor with Hymenaeus Beta of The Revival of Magick and Other Essays. Dr. Kaczynski has been a student of the Western hermetic tradition since 1978 and has lectured internationally on this topic since 1990. His writing has also appeared in such books as A Concordance to the Holy Books of Thelema, The Golden Dawn Sourcebook, Rebels and Devils, and People of the Earth. He lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with his wife and cats.
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Author's Notes: Reviews/Endorsements:
“Richard Kaczynski’s Perdurabo: the Life of Aleister Crowley is the one biography that is absolutely necessary for anyone who wishes to know more about one of the most creative, seminal, and misunderstood figures of the last hundred years.”
—David Tibet, founder of Current 93
"A brilliant essayist, a superior poet, and an extraordinary artist, mountaineer, and explorer, the Crowley presented in these witty and erudite pages is at once shocking, wise, egocentric, petty, inspirational and, most importantly, real. Roundly rejecting the pantomime villain at the center of previous biographies and deeply suspicious of the nonsensical hero-worship of some of his modern followers, Kaczynski's portrait of Crowley is balanced and well-informed. Rare illustrations support a superbly written and meticulously researched text.”
—Paul Feazey, LAShTAL.com
“This is not only the most carefully-researched, detailed, and informative biography of Crowley yet written but also a remarkable insight into the nature of magic itself.”
—Ronald Hutton, author of The Triumph of the Moon and Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain
“Richard Kaczynski uses a novelist’s touch to make this exceptionally well-researched book read like an adventure story. For the serious student of Ceremonial magick or anyone curious about the truth behind all those weird stories, it’s essential reading.… Perdurabo is bound to become the definitive biography on Aleister Crowley.”
“Aleister Crowley—what a man. I've read several Crowley biographies, and this one takes the prize for most enjoyable and intimate. Mr. Kaczynski has the personal understanding and experience necessary to paint an accurate portrait of Crowley, with all the exciting context in place. Mr. Kaczynski's passion for his subject makes for an informative and potentially life-changing read. Why wade on the shores of such a vast man, when you can dive in? I think Crowley himself would have welcomed such a loving penetration."
—Andrew W.K., musician
"I've avidly devoured biographies of Aleister Crowley since my teens, because like other great artists (such as Oscar Wilde) , half his genius went into his life. Perdurabo is undoubtedly the most complete and best researched of all the biographies, yet manages to be un-put-downable, tragic as well as laugh-out-loud funny—and best of all, it takes the Magick seriously."
—Peter Lamborn Wilson, author, Green Hermeticism: Alchemy & Ecology
“Meticulously researched and brilliantly written, Perdurabo is a revealing and unflinching look at the complex, enigmatic and always controversial figure known to us as Aleister Crowley. ... Kaczynski has written one of the most enjoyable and riveting reads in... recent memory. Newly revised and expanded this is the definitive Crowley biography.”
—Avant-garde musician John Zorn
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