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The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  706 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Anton Szandor LaVey has been called "the most dangerous man in the world," a "charlatan," an "evil genius." What secrets lurk within the man who shaved his head on Walpurgisnacht, 1966, and declared the foundation of the Church of Satan?
For many years, Anton LaVey has directed his mysterious organization in seclusion, declining all public appearances, and refusing most int
Paperback, 262 pages
Published September 1st 1992 by Feral House (first published 1990)
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Start your review of The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey
Aug 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: satanism
Magic and shapes that have supernatural effects, please... How to turn into a werewolf? I think it was a joke? Most Satanist literature I have read seemed to be more atheistic, this was the first one that seemed to believe that black magic actually works and dabbled in the supernatural. Other than that, the Church of Satan has a lot of good philosophy to soak up and use in one's own benefit. 

Stupidity is a sin. Destroy Christianity and all other suicidal religions, embrace your natural instincts
Bobbi Heck
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to waste their time
This was a terrible book. Anton LaVey is a self important nit wit.
L.V. Sage
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: occult-related
This was a fascinating look into the life of a mysterious figure. What an amazing life LaVey led!! Whenever I read about people like him, who accomplished so much during their time here on Earth, I feel inspired that you can do whatever the hell you want and make a living from it! You can actually be happy and productive. LaVey was an extremely intelligent man who developed a belief system based on logic and rationality instead of fear and guilt.
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Satanists, LaVey Fans, the curious
Recommended to Michael by: Serendipity
Most “authorized” biographies of controversial figures of celebrities suffer from a degree of bias – the author is obliged to keep the subject happy, and thus must avoid topics that will be uncomfortable for them or at least give their side of the story as if it were somehow more “true” than that of their critics. In this case, that bias reaches its extreme form: the book may as well have been “ghost written” by LaVey himself for all the research Barton did. She simply took his words as holy gos ...more
Nov 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Here's the nice thing I have to say about the book: it was short.
That's the end of the nice things I have to say.
It's poorly organised, makes numerous assertions without comprehensive or even cursory supporting evidence and it's explanation of what Satanism is as a belief system is never clearly and comprehensively explained. I understand this isn't a Satanic text, but if you're writing an autobiography of a guy who invented a religion, you should explain what that religion is in a way that mak
Mark Plaid
May 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Lavayan Satanism was more interesting to me when I was younger. I still appreciate the sentiment of Satan as a symbol of the great adversary and the rejection of herd mentality. I still think the imagery is cool. However, Lavay's brand of cynicism and misanthropy wears thin. It reminds me too much of too many whiny complainers with over-developed senses of entitlement. I don't like hearing it at family gatherings and workplace break rooms, it's not so amusing to read any more.
Scott Holstad
Oct 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
Okay, several admissions. One, this review is based largely on memory and it's not due to my having just finished it. I just came across mention of some people I read in college and beyond and thought it might be fun to reread or possibly simply write a brief review on some books by or about him, among some others. Two, and this is very important -- it is an "authorized" biography. Naturally that's treated as a good thing by the author(s) as the author(s) had "inside" access to LaVey and his rit ...more
Mar 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the best and most entertaining biographies I've ever read of one of the greatest men who ever lived. To those that insist most of it is made up or exaggerated: you weren't paying close enough attention. Maybe you should rent a copy of "Big Fish" and then you'll understand.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is the problem with authorised biographies - it's 'written' by a third party, but it smacks of LaVey. For the self proclaimed founder of the Church of Satan - he really didn't have a very interesting life. This book doesn't total much, just a couple of antidotes about two women that were dead upon writing this book so they could neither confirm or deny the details.

I think LeVay spent most of his time thinking and writing down his thoughts alone. He jumped onto the hedonistic social movemen
Pint-Sized Vehemence
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A shame Satanism is so misunderstood. There's a lot of rationality and compassion to it, and no actual "devil worship". It's not about pillaging, raping and killing. It's not about doing "bad things for the Devil". There's no virgin sacrifice, or blood drinking, or sex with goats. They don't push immorality and unethical behavior; in fact, those things are frowned upon. It's not about being evil and scary and spooky.

Ancient religion has scammed the world into thinking perfectly normal and human
Gregory Klages
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Although I was familiar with Lavey's historical importance before reading this book, I knew little about his personal life. This book advanced my knowledge, but also suffers from gaping oversights that don't make much sense. For instance, almost half the book is devoted to Lavey's life before founding the Church of Satan. This is really interesting stuff that provides insights into formative experiences. The second half of the book, though, is concerned more with rehashing Lavey's philosophies d ...more
Holger Haase
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
The first half of the book is the authorised biography of Anton LaVey; the second half an introduction into his - surprisingly sane and often common sensical - belief system. When I read LaVey's Satanic Bible I was surprised how much of it appeared to be a precursor to all those self help books that are now stocked up in every bookstore and seem to have copied abundantly from him (with the ideas of "psychic vampires", visualisation etc). This biography is quite clearly biased and at times too gu ...more
Claude Nelson Lewis
The most disgusting book I’ve ever read . I come to the conclusion , Anton LaVey , was really a lazy man who wanted attention , money and power , without going to work at a job ! He completely let’s out his total distain for The Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Bible ! Anton LaVey , in my thoughts , has left his mark on the world....A TOTAL REPROBATE !
Chad Montabon
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed it and it was a competant biography, if not a fantastic one. The subject matter is truely compelling. After the obligitory section about his parantage there is a good bit about his life of scattered experiences.
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: satanists, occultists, people interested in the occult,
I am sure Blanche Barton assisted Anton LeVay in the writing of this book, but so much of it sounded like it came directly out of LeVay's mouth! I've always found LeVay a fascinating character, and this book was a fun read. Some of the claims are ludicrous, but you won't be sad you read them!
Adam Bricker
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at the life of the founder of the Church of Satan including his formative years, careers, loves and intellectual/musical influences.
Apr 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting person, a lot of filler chapters sandwiched by good and short biographical chapters
Bart Everson
May 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Starts bad and gets worse. I have to admit there's something intriguing about the notion of an "unreliable biography," but this is not artfully done. I do believe an objective biography of Anton LaVey, written by somebody with a little distance from the subject, would make for a fascinating read. In the meantime, Vice published an interview with his daughter Zeena. Read it as an antidote to this dreck. ...more
Isaac Baker
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
The book is written by LaVey's widow, although she was merely an admirer when she set out to write the first version of the book. This new version (updated in 2014) has some interesting insights into LaVey's final days and the family feud that came to a head after his demise.

I found Barton's writing to be a bit on the weak side, often repetitive and (despite the subject manner) quite boring at times. It's clear, though, that the author is enamored with LaVey. And this “authorized” biography was
Grigori Cross
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a book written by a Satanist, about a Satanist, for Satanists. I don't mean that the subject matter or its delivery is too esoteric for non-Satanists to understand, or indeed that non-Satanists who are interested in the man who founded the Church of Satan will not be able to get a great amount of information from this volume. I claim instead that, much like Anton LaVey's "The Satanic Bible," a Satanist will get a lot more out of reading it than will a non-Satanist.

For the life described
Blanche Barton’s authorized biography of Anton LaVey is an entertaining read. In terms of biography it is much more a tribute to the man she loved and admired; perhaps, even feared, but not so much a critical analysis of the man’s life and work.

The Secret Life of a Satanist tends to bolster the legend of the greatest showman of the modern occult and still manages to humanize him a little. LeVay’s contributions to modern occultism and non-theistic Satanism get lost somewhere between the sycophan
Shea Mastison
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a great biographical account of Anton LaVey, written by his long-time confidant, Magistra Blanche Barton. Not only does the book cover standard biographical information; but it really provides a useful peek into LaVey's mind in many of the ways that the Doktor never conveyed in his own writing.

Needless to say, Anton LaVey lived a singular life. A man of many passions; he pursued his ends with a unique sort of determination, and accomplished more than what anyone else may have predicted
Tasha Thibodeau
Sep 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
What I love about Anton LaVey is that there is truly know way to really know when he was lying about his life or when he was telling the truth, he truly was a man who kept the spirit of Old Nick within him. This book is written by his second wife, Blanche Barton. I really enjoyed this book and I thought the stories were entertaining and he truly did live an interesting life, whether or not all of it was real or not. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to take a peek into the secret l ...more
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bio
The writing is so childish it makes the text hard to read for such a long story. Also the style is weird. This bio was written as a novel. The speaker writes in the third person, but presents the facts from a god perspective -- like a live witness that can see inside the mind of the participants. If it is an exceptional life, than why make it appear like fiction?
Jessica Lynn
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly enlightening. Much information on the man behind The Satanic Bible and the Church Of Satan, his roots, ground breaking ideas and development of but also the roots of the church, its philosophies and stories. Common sense is your friend.
Sep 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Decently-written, uses a lot of quotes from LaVey himself to tell the story of his life, mixed in with a little bit of the Satanic philosophy, about which I knew very little. Given the subject matter, you'd think this would be more gripping than it was, but it wasn't a slog either.
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Rather boring. Had to force myself to finish. Blanche reminds me of a groupie that schemed her way to get close to LaVey. Also, in my opinion a biography should be written by someone without biases.
Äsruþr Cyneaþsson
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fascinating biography. LaVey lived an extraordinary life, regardless of embellishment. For those interested in understanding the psychology of LaVey, or gaining an insight in order to read between the lines of what LaVey wrote, then this book is a great key.
Sandra Ramirez-Noguchi
This is one of the most fascinating biographies I've ever read. He truly did live quite the extraordinary life and his idealogies are quite interesting. Not sure if everything written here is absolutely true or not. I've heard rumours to the contrary, still, I would highly recommend!!
Lee Vickers
Sep 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Fascinating life. If it's a true account...
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Blanche Barton (born Sharon Densley) is Magistra Templi Rex within the Church of Satan, and is addressed by Satanists as Magistra Barton.
She is Anton LaVey`s biographer and mother of LaVey`s son Satan Xerxes Carnacki LaVey born 1993.

Barton wrote The Church of Satan: A History of the World's Most Notorious Religion (1990) and The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey (1

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“We don't worship Satan, we worship ourselves using the metaphorical representation of the qualities of Satan. Satan is the name used by Judeo-Christians for that force of individuality and pride within us. But the force itself has been called by many names.We embrace Christian myths of Satan and Lucifer, along with Satanic renderings in Greek, Roman, Islamic, Sumerian, Syrian, Phrygian, Egyptian, Chinese or Hindu mythologies, to name but a few. We are not limited to one deity, but encompass all the expressions of the accuser or the one who advocates free thought and rational alternatives by whatever name he is called in a particular time and land. It so happens that we are living in a culture that is predominantly Judeo-Christian, so we emphasize Satan. If we were living in Roman times, the central figure, perhaps the title of our religion, would be different. But the name would be expressing and communicating the same thing. It's all context.” 44 likes
“At this stage of the game, I don’t have the time for patience and tolerance. Ten years ago, even five years ago, I would have listened to people ask their questions, explained to them, mollified them. No more. That time is past. Now, as Norman Mailer said in Naked and the Dead, ‘I hate everything which is not in myself.’ If it doesn’t have a direct bearing on what I’m advocating, if it doesn’t augment or stimulate my life and thinking, I don’t want to hear it. It has to add something to my life. There’s no more time for explaining and being ecumenical anymore. No more time. That’s a characteristic I share with the new generation of Satanists, which might best be termed, and has labeled itself in many ways, an ‘Apocalypse culture.’ Not that they believe in the biblical Apocalypse—the ultimate war between good and evil. Quite the contrary. But that there is an urgency, a need to get on with things and stop wailing and if it ends tomorrow, at least we’ll know we’ve lived today. It’s a ‘fiddle while Rome burns’ philosophy. It’s the Satanic philosophy. If the generation born in the 50’s grew up in the shadow of The Bomb and had to assimilate the possibility of imminent self destruction of the entire planet at any time, those born in the 60’s have had to reconcile the inevitability of our own destruction, not through the bomb but through mindless, uncontrolled overpopulation. And somehow resolve in themselves, looking at what history has taught us, that no amount of yelling, protesting, placard waving, marching, wailing—or even more constructive avenues like running for government office or trying to write books to wake people up—is going to do a damn bit of good. The majority of humans have an inborn death wish—they want to destroy themselves and everything beautiful. To finally realize that we’re living in a world after the zenith of creativity, and that we can see so clearly the mechanics of our own destruction, is a terrible realization. Most people can’t face it. They’d rather retreat to the comfort of New Age mysticism. That’s all right. All we want, those few of us who have the strength to realize what’s going on, is the freedom to create and entertain and share with each other, to preserve and cherish what we can while we can, and to build our own little citadels away from the insensitivity of the rest of the world.” 33 likes
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