“Strange and Dangerous Dreams” by Geoff Powter

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Thanks to the_real_simon_iff

After all those wonderful book announcements of the last days and weeks I would like to direct your attention to just another publication that is obviously relevant to the members of this site, even if it may not be of outstanding importance: “Strange and Dangerous Dreams”, author Geoff Powter, subtitled “The fine line between adventure and madness”. The book is published by The Mountaineers Books, the publishing arm of The Mountaineers Club, founded in 1906. Not too surprisingly, one chapter is dedicated to the Great Beast.

From the inner sleeve: “Every culture, in every era, has its adventure myths – the golden hero willing to walk through fire elevates us all beyond our fears and limits. But more often than commonly recognized, there are darker reasons for dangerous pursuits. When do mountains, poles and oceans become merely an incidental stage for a troubled psychodrama? Where, truly, falls the line between adventure and madness? Psychologist Geoff Powter looks into the lives of eleven adventurers he calls The Burdened, The Bent, and The Lost, presenting previously unpublished information provided by witnesses, friends, and family.”

Of course, the chapter on AC is to be found among The Bent, and is introduced like this: “For better or worse, we are most often creatures of the collection of habits, experience and biology that we call personality. In most people, this predetermination is rarely an issue. […] There are exceptions, however, where someone’s personality structure is clearly odd or grating, to the extent that it causes trouble for the person or for others, and these ‘personality disorders’ can be found in the world of adventure just as they are anywhere else. Of the many varieties of personality disorders classified by psychiatry, the two types that are most salient in a bookabout the line between ‘normalcy’ and ‘madness’ in adventure are the narcissistic and the sociopathic disorders.” Then follows the chapter itself, more or less a pretty well-written and informed (post-Perdurabo obviously) 20-page biography sketch, which focuses on Crowley’s mountaineering career, and the author – probably the Mountaineering Club also – pays astonishingly approving respect to Crowley’s achievements in this area, even presenting prove that the British Alpine Club was well amazed by this powerful and avant-garde climber while explaining why he was banned from that society for life. Unfortunately Mr. Powter is of the opinion that after the disaster at Kangchenjunga in 1905, Crowley’s best days were over, as a mountaineer as well as in every other respect – but obviously he is not interested in the magickal achievements of the Beast, and that is okay for the book.

Strange and Dangerous Dreams” by Geoff Powter, 1st edition 2006, hardback with dustjacket, published by The Mountaineers Books, ISBN 0-89886-987-0, $22.95 U.S.

Please see for a visual: http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/module-pnMediaLibrary-display-id-475.phtml (Members only)

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