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Record Type: Review   ID: 1185

The Spiritualists: The Passion for the Occult in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Brandon, Ruth

 Social historian Ruth Brandon provides an entertaining account of spiritualism from its beginnings in 1848 through the i930s. Her approach is that of the skeptic, and the thread on which she hinges her history is that spiritualism (and later, psychical research and parapsychology) is an attempt to restore by science the religious faith undermined by science. She accuses parapsychologists of refusing to be aware of all the necessary facts. She says that in the works of parapsychologists, "all the facts are never mentioned—or, if they are, only in the most slanted way, so that those undermining the desired evidence will be dismissed" (p. 251). Although the pot may be calling the kettle black here, her book is entertaining and informative. She has uncovered a wealth of anecdotes, many of which will be new to most readers.
Publisher Information:New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983. 3i5p. Bibliography: 297-303; Chapter notes; 12 figures; 40 illustrations; Index: 307-315
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