Often referred to as the "wickedest man alive," Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) enjoyed a terrifying reputation--and one that was, at least in part, of his own making. Stories abound of drugs, orgies, sacrificial ceremonies, and the tragic deaths of ...
those who associated with him. Now, Roger Hutchinson offers a clear-sighted view of Aleister Crowley, focusing not on the myth but on the man. His early life was one of considerable achievement. One of the most accomplished mountain climbers of his generation, he was also the friend and literary model to a host of celebrated figures, including W. Somerset Maugham and W.B.Yeats. An early convert to eastern philosophies, Crowley attempted to replace western Christianity with his own brand of religion--most notably through his writings and his legendary commune in Sicily. Addicted to opiates, hounded by the press, the tribulations of his later years would have ruined a lesser man. This compelling biography presents the "Great Beast" for the first time as an accessible figure: a flawed, egotistical, astonishing individual who left an ineradicable mark on his era.