Hans's Reviews > Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation

Occult America by Mitch Horowitz
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's review
Apr 11, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: history
Read from April 11 to 24, 2011

Like I mentioned before this is a very superficial introduction to the not-well-known history of the occult in America. It does a decent job of illustrating that Americans do seem to have a bit of a mystical vein. Today is most widely manifest by the popularization of its once "mysterious teachings" in things like "The Secret", the pentecostal and evangelical mega-church movements, or even motivational speakers for that matter. The whole "Positive-Thinking" the "Imagery" movements all of that stuff that is now called "Self-help" once was the domain of the occult and mystics that blended their teaching with American Pragmatism.

Not a whole lot surprising in this book except that it is interesting how history has largely been silent on its influences on important people and movements in American History. It seems like it has been the counter culture of American Materialism and has thrived by promising people everything from wealth and riches to lasting happiness.

Stylistically the author wrote like a High School boy with ADHD jumping around so much from topic to topic and person to person that is can make you dizzy just trying to remember the long list of names and places. This also means that he only lightly touching on them. He could have focused a little more in depth on a few of the critical occult individuals instead of trying to introduce almost all of them in so few pages.
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Reading Progress

04/11/2011 "so far this book seems to be more like a brief introduction to the history of American Mysticism rather than a definitive one."
12/13/2016 marked as: read

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