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Perdurabo, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Life of Aleister Crowley

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4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  466 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
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 Cr ...more
Hardcover, 720 pages
Published August 10th 2010 by North Atlantic Books (first published January 1st 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,264)
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John
Feb 14, 2009 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clown, con artist, spiritual explorer, drug addict, mountain climber, moral degenerate, poet, ritual magickian, religious prophet; the guy had a busy schedule. This is a thoroughly researched and well-written biography of a man that society didn't know what to do with.
Sofie
Jul 22, 2010 Sofie rated it really liked it
This book is a compendium of Aleister Crowley’s life, from birth to death, and an overview of his following up till today. As far as I know, it is very detailed and thorough. It does not go very deeply into any one part of his life; it covers the breadth of it. I would have liked more depth in some places, but it is great for what it is.
It gives short biographies of almost everyone that comes into Crowley’s life; while their religious histories may be relevant, a lot of it seems unnecessary.
I wo
...more
Al Swanson
Nov 27, 2012 Al Swanson rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, biography
Hmm... OK, the rating is certainly for the book and the writing rather than the man or the author's affinity for him.

While I'd been interested in magic (in the form of what I thought magic was, you know, cauldrons and witches and evil warlocks) since I was a kid, it was in my late 20's when I first heard of Crowley. I bought 'Magick in Theory and Practice' from an occult shop in Oakland, CA and immediately went WTF??? when I started reading it. For whatever reason - and though almost every othe
...more
Andres
Sep 08, 2010 Andres rated it it was amazing
Without a doubt the most complete 3rd party view on the Master's life. There are so many biographies out there, and some of them are way too biased to be anything but necessary references to have in the library just in case. The best is still the Master's autobiography, but Perdurabo is the next best thing. Very well researched, loads of pictures in it, and as balanced as it is thorough. To Mega Therion had his faults as a person, and the author does not gloss over these, but neither does he hid ...more
Keith
Aleister Crowley seemed to be quite the busy boy. Judging from the quality and breadth of this biography the author was quite busy as well. I especially appreciated the summary biographies of those surrounding Crowley as a way to ground the telling of his life. One addition that might make this complicated life more approachable is two pages devoted to time lines laying out when he was were he was, when he met who he met, and so on. As a starting point for study, a mostly unbiased addition to an ...more
Thibault
Jun 13, 2015 Thibault rated it liked it
Crowley was a complex man, maybe not your first entry book, a little dry, but fascinating nonetheless
Christian
For everyone seriously interested in Crowley a must-read. Often entertaining and always interesting, does his membership in the O.T.O. Kaczynski not prevent from a serious and academically trustworthy approach to the many complicated subjects of this complicated man. His approach is neutral but sympathetic, what lacks here is a more direct engaging with the critique of Crowley and analysis of his character traits. He provides maybe the biggest amount of sheer data about the life of the inventor ...more
Josh
Dec 20, 2015 Josh rated it liked it
This is a weighty tome from an author who clearly cared about the subject. Sometimes one feels he might have cared too much... at least one might feel that while drowning among the minutia of Crowley's life.

The density works against it, but it's greatest sin (at least in my eyes), is that it uncritically accepts Crowley's magickal claims. The existence of occult realms is presupposed, as is Crowley's interactions therein. Whether or not one personally believes in such things, I don't generally f
...more
Keith
Jun 22, 2016 Keith marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Out of print, hard to find, expensive, and now superseded by a much revised and expanded edition.
Jeffrey
Oct 04, 2010 Jeffrey rated it liked it
More than you could ever want to know about this vile, vile man. Interesting read, to be taken with a dram of salt.
Celeste
Mar 23, 2016 Celeste rated it it was amazing
Comprehensive, objective, Crowley's life in complete, beginning to end. In addition to being well written and interesting to read, it also became clear to me through reading how much the author devoted to his research. The last 100 pages or so actually contain the footnotes and indexes - I have the feeling that blood, sweat and tears are contained in this book. You will meet nearly every person Crowley ever met, and every Scarlet Woman, too. (Oh, the women!) STILL left me wanting a bit more, tho ...more
Dean
Dec 25, 2013 Dean rated it really liked it
What to say about this humongous book- one of the best biographies written about Aleister Crowley (and there are a few on the market). First the good- the author has done tremendous amounts of research and footnotes hundreds of points and source documents in each of the chapters. Crowley's early life history is well written and would be novel for most readers. Personally, I enjoyed the first half of the book probably more than the later (more famous) half in which Crowley was known for his infam ...more
JoHnny Haddo
Jan 29, 2013 JoHnny Haddo rated it really liked it
as much as I enjoyed reading..Perdurabo..I don't really buy into the Crowley myth, the man spent a life-time chasing smoke & shadows, just another Edwardian rich loony-tune,too much money in the sky-rocket,old bean.. an ego & a libdio the size of K2, proved the devil has work for idle hands..hahaHa..did he need the laws of Thelema to get laid,or was your man just a sex-freak, how much of what he claimed is truly, true..?? You will never know.
If god's look after their own, they let poor A
...more
Emily E. Auger
Mar 07, 2014 Emily E. Auger rated it it was amazing
A thoroughly researched biography, perfect for anyone looking for a source on the infamous Aleister Crowley that keeps the fictions well sorted from the facts.
Eleriel Mornië
Jul 08, 2016 Eleriel Mornië is currently reading it
I think this is one of those books that take me a couple of years to read, veeeery slowly, just a few pages at a time, in between other books. I guess the reason why I find it difficult to read is because it's a collection of biographies inside a biography: you get mini-bios for every single person Crowley ever met... and that starts to be hard to digest after a while.
In any case, it's huge and extremely detailed: Kaczynski's research for this book was just epic and I believe it when people say
...more
Meredith
May 27, 2014 Meredith rated it really liked it
A well-written academic biography of 'Uncle Al'. It's strange reading something that is written about him in a non-sensational manner. He was certainly a complex character. A lot of his more 'scandalous' behavior just had me shaking my head. What can you do when the literal magick is gone from a partnership.

He lived large. He dared. He had big ideas. He did BIG things. He had not a single f*ck to give and he was hated for it. Pretty much the best trust fun kid ever. Well done, To Mega Therion.
Bernie
Jan 07, 2014 Bernie rated it liked it
I now know more about Crowley than I did, but had to wade through paragraphs of biography about dozens of bit players in his life. Crowley certainly comes across as a reasonable fellow in this book rather than the Wickedest Man in the World; I'm not sure the author made it clear why the two opinions exist.
jesse l mabus
Oct 26, 2015 jesse l mabus rated it it was amazing
Shelves: occulture, biography
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

what a wild ride. exemplary in every way

"Ah, you realize that magick is something we do to ourselves. But it is more convienent to assume the objective existence of an angel who gives us new knowledge than to allege that our invocation has awakened a supernatural power in ourselves." - 'little sunshine' to james laver, 27mar1947. (542).

the Great Beast is dead!
long live the Prophet of the lovely Star!

Love is the law, love under will.
Eric
Jan 10, 2014 Eric rated it really liked it
An extremely well-researched and detailed book on the enigmatic Crowley. Very dense reading but if you are interested in the good, bad and ugly aspects of AC this book presents a balanced insight.
Charles
Oct 13, 2014 Charles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: goth-interest
Charles Hill This is the authoritative biography of the great beast. If you only read one book on, about, or by Crowley read this one. If you are a curious person, a fanatic, or a skeptic the author of this biography treats this book with the most respect with which one could write a Crowley book with. Recommended by Maynard of Tool and David Tibet of current 93.
Paul
Dec 08, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it
Excellent biography, which is especially strong in covering the early parts of Crowley's life. Extensive photographs and footnotes are evidence of the great deal of research that went into writing the book.
Doug
Nov 17, 2010 Doug rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All
Without a doubt THE best and most comprehensive biography of AC. Dispenses with any conjecture or myth making and instead concentrates on facts! Still the character of the man shines through and the scale of the achievements (and failures) are remarkable for 10 men let alone 1.

To Mega Therion!
Gary
Oct 12, 2010 Gary rated it really liked it
Shelves: esoteric, biography
A meticulously researched and objectively presented biography of this uncompromising and unique personality. The sublime, the callous, and the mundane events are equally chronicled from the astounding career of this intense mage.
Scotty
Nov 01, 2015 Scotty rated it it was amazing
Absolutely magnificent biography of one of the greatest and most gifted (although often maligned) men of the modern age. Mandatory reading for thelemites.
Alex Handyside
Jul 28, 2013 Alex Handyside rated it really liked it
Not an easy read but I'm glad I persevered. A fascinating, yet misunderstood individual.
Chris Feldman
Aug 01, 2009 Chris Feldman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: old_or_rare, a-plus
Hands-down the best Crowley bio there is.
Chris Feldman
Aug 01, 2009 Chris Feldman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: old_or_rare, a-plus
Hands-down the best Crowley bio there is.
Brian
Feb 23, 2014 Brian marked it as gave-up-on
Gave up after 350 pages or so ...
Marko
Aug 09, 2012 Marko rated it it was amazing
Very in depth biography of AC.
Richard
May 28, 2016 Richard rated it it was amazing
Great book.
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Richard Kaczynski is an American writer, musician, research scientist, and lecturer in the fields of social psychology, metaphysical beliefs and new religious movements. He is known for his biography Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley (North Atlantic Books, 2010), acclaimed by the Times Literary Supplement as "the major biography to date" of the Edwardian enfant terrible, and regarded by the ...more
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