Rogue Messiahs, by Colin Wilson

I recently posted this review on Amazon of Colin Wilson‘s wonderfully insightful book “Rogue Messiahs, Tales of Self-Proclaimed Saviors.” As you can tell by my review, I highly recommend it.
Here’s the review
I confess to being somewhat susceptible myself to “Roque Messiahs.” I have followed various teachers and gurus down paths that finally became so bizarre and entangled that I had to stop, back off, rethink my loyalties and intents.
Actually, my latest guru (rogue messiah?) has been Colin Wilson himself. Although first encountering his work (via The Outsider) four decades ago, I’ve been on an intense Colin Wilson kick for almost a year. (He wrote over a hundred books, before his death in December 2013, and recorded many, many interviews and speeches, now available on Youtube, so it’s easy, and profitable to go on such a kick.)
In my view Wilson is one of the most underappreciated philosophers (existentialist) of the last one hundred years. He is also a novelist, esoteric researcher, and all around wise man of letters. He’s both a self-enamored genius and a quirky entertainer, a true visionary, self-taught world citizen and deeply honest and compassionate investigator of the human condition. (There, my prejudices are on the table, abundantly clear, yes?)
Rogue Messiahs can function as a worthy introduction to Wilson, if you haven’t read any of his other books. This book reveals a man who is obviously not afraid to tackle the hard questions and basic mysteries of life and the human condition. The book not only documents a wide smorgasbord of Rogue Messiahs—from the nutcase who had his disciples put saran gas in the Tokyo subways to Jim Jones and David Koresh of Branch Davidian fame—but also offers fresh views of those who are taken in by such rogues.
Wilson’s book is a highly successful adventure into and examination of the psychology behind such Messiahs. Wilson is well-equipped to lead this adventure with his apparently photographic memory and genius-level insight into our daily preoccupations (sex and power.)
This is a great book. It encapsulates Wilson’s “positive existentialism” while giving a direct, straight-forward account of the Rogue Messiahs alive on our own time and in time’s past. Wilson is a masterful storyteller, an elegant and gifted writer.
Again, if you have not read Wilson previously, this is a good introduction to his personal generosity, transparency and demand for authenticity, especially between a writer and his readers, while exploring a subject of titillating relevance. If you are familiar with Wilson, you can rest assured that this is one more ‘not to be missed’ book by one of our century’s most eloquent and important observers of the piquant beauty of the human psychology which prompts us all to want more life. This book brings “more life” and light to the subject, and temptations, of “special case” human beings.

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