This seminal anthropological study of London's occult scene in the mid-1980s marked a watershed in the field, focussed on white Westerners rather than so-called 'primitives'. Her question was: how can they believe in magic while at the same time being rational 20th-century Londoners with responsible jobs, functioning families and extensive friendship groups? The author, then a Cambridge doctoral student, joined many magical groups active at the time, and was adopted into a Gardnerian coven. The social observations and the anonymised personal profiles created a stir in the British esoteric community when the book was published.
Lurhmann went on to have a stellar career in academic anthropology: she is now professor at Stamford University. Black and white photographs by Ruth Bayer are in the plates, including portraits of historically important Gardnerians. Subtitled 'Ritual Magic in Contemporary England'.
Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1989. First edition. Hardback bound in publisher's black cloth, titled in silver gilt to spine. 382 pages. Internally clean. A very good copy in crisp dust jacket.