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Re: Has anyone read this book?

Feb 06, 1995 11:10 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

Peter Washington's Mme.  Blavatsky's Baboon first appeared in a
UK edition last year.  I read that; it was reviewed by Robert
Ellwood in Gnosis for Winter 1994.  Ellwood describes the book as
"a long, rollicking, freewheeling narrative history of modern
Euro-American occultistm, centering on Theosophy, Gurdjieffism,
and their multitudinous various." After noting that it is not
particularly well-researched, but entertaining reading and not
completely biased against its main characters, Ellwood concludes:
"despite its occasional intriguing or infuriating insight, this
book cannot be considered-- any more than it considers itself,--
an important scholarly or interpretive work on modern occult
movements.  It can be recommended as a good read to those who
enjoy this kind of history, provided they don't take it too

Although I liked the author's style, there wasn't anything new in
the book for me, and on one point he really screwed up badly.
Early on, he gives a description of the Masters which he says
reflects what HPB taught about them.  But there are something
like 50 factuals errors in a row here, because all the stuff he
attributes to HPB actually was formulated by CWL years after her

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