London: Thames & Hudson, 2016. Hardback with Dustjacket, 400 pages. New.
The Occult, Witchcraft and Magic: An Illustrated History is a lively and fascinating history of magic and the occult, ranging from the earliest evidence of magical thinking in Palaeolithic cave paintings to contemporary forms of magic and Paganism. Richly illustrated with reproductions of paintings, diagrams and magical objects, the book covers a vast range of occult-related subjects, from different forms of divination, spells and incantations, Tarot, Spiritualism and Mesmerism, and traditions as diverse as Shamanism, Voodoo and Chaos Magic. There are also potted biographies of notable magical personalities, both historical and contemporary, such as Albertus Magnus, Anton La Vey and Austin Osman Spare. Covering such a wide range of subjects, traditions and periods, the book provides brief overviews rather than in-depth treatments, and as such works best as an introductory book to the vast range of magical beliefs and pursuits throughout history and in different cultures. If you are looking for an introductory book on the history of magic and the occult, then The Occult, Witchcraft and Magic: An Illustrated History is a very good jumping-off point.
Christopher Dell holds a degree in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute, London. He has written and edited several books on art and visual culture.