"As soon as I opened this book I knew I was in for an exceptional treat and I was right. This is Churton at his best. His book focuses, with some broader contextualization, on Crowley’s intermittent sojourns in Berlin between 1930 and 1932, which climaxed in a sensational exhibition of his paintings in October 1931. We follow Crowley as he strolls through the city, dressed in a knickerbocker suit, proclaiming his gospel of Thelema, exploring Berlin’s extensive demi-monde, playing chess, painting, writing, fornicating, spying for British intelligence and mingling with a remarkable constellation of artists, writers, philosophers and occultists. One of his friends at the time was Christopher Isherwood, who fictionalized his Berlin experience in the novel that later became the musical Cabaret. Churton, in his vivid, witty style, superbly captures the atmosphere of the city during that feverish, decadent but immensely vibrant and creative era, which ended abruptly with the catastrophe of 1933. Move over, Isherwood. From now on we should be talking about “Crowley’s Berlin”. "
Christopher McIntosh, PhD, author and Honorary University Fellow, Lecturer, History (Western Esotericism), University of Exeter
"Long regarded as one of the ‘bad boys of history’, Crowley finds himself in good company, for like his predecessor, the Renaissance Florentine diplomat Niccolò Machiavelli, he has, until recently been known only as a sort of depraved, dangerous and thoroughly nasty person, a reputation based on hearsay. Whilst nobody would deny that certain aspects in both instances are true, both Machiavelli and Crowley have been treated out of context. What the formidable scholarship of John Plamenatz, Peter Bondanella and Mark Musa has done for Machiavelli’s reputation, Tobias Churton, it is to be hoped, will achieve for Crowley’s.
Tobias Churton has undertaken the formidable task of presenting Aleister Crowley as part of a momentous period in the history of Berlin: the 1930’s, specifically two years: 1930-2 during which Crowley worked as a painter and this is conclusively proved by the 32 illustrations presented in the book. Influenced by the two avant-garde movements which informed German Modernity, Die Brücke and Der Blaue Riter, which influenced him, Crowley created a body of work which paid homage to these movements while also reflecting his interests in mysticism, Gnosticism and philosophy. Thus in the double portrait Mali and Igel, representing two lesbians who ran a women only club in Berlin, Crowley incorporated the brutal colours of one of Hitler’s ‘degenerate’ artists, Emil Nolde, who also represented Berlin’s underbelly in his paintings.
Yet again, Churton shows a unique ability to combine an approachable writing style with scholarly research and the result is an authoritative book (the first and hitherto the only on Crowley the artist in Berlin): a person deserving of re-assessment rather than relegation to history’s dustbin."
Sanda Miller, Ph.D. author and Research Fellow, History of Art, Southampton Solent University
"An invaluable in-depth history that sheds light on one of the most important periods in both 20th century Europe and the life of the Magus of the Aeon, Aleister Crowley. This full-length treatment of Crowley as artist (in Churton’s words, “the only Magus in history with a name worthy of the annals of Art”) also features a uniquely intimate view of Crowley’s succession to the Headship of O.T.O. in 1950; some intelligent observations on sexual magick; and extensive extracts from Crowley’s correspondence—allowing a “Beast’s-eye-view” of his personal life, proselytizing efforts, business activities, and thorough contempt for Nazism. Highly recommended! "
James Wasserman, author of The Mystery Traditions: Secret Symbols and Sacred Art and In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult
"Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin is magic! Tobias Churton opens box after box of secrets in a dazzling display of research, erudition and insight. Aleister Crowley is revealed in all his jaw-dropping splendor, plus warts. A genius forced to suffer fools, able to transcend misfortune, an adventurer in the worlds of art and war. His wisdom is both light and deep; the book is thrilling. "
Vanilla Beer, artist
"Whether Quantum Magus, Berlin Artist, lover or spy; Churton brings Crowley to life like no other biographer. He truly gets him… You don’t so much read this book as you live it, the noisome Beast in Berlin, our own beast within. Churton brings us the first serious and comprehensive study of Crowley’s remarkable Berlin period. "
Stephen J. King, Grand Master, Ordo Templi Orientis (Australia)
"A remarkable account of Baphomet in Berlin, full of fascinating new information on Crowley’s decadence and discipline as a Berlin Boy as Germany spiraled down into its apocalyptic picnic. Tobias Churton has uncovered much that is new, and marvellously expands on and clarifies that which was already known. A wonderful evocation of the darkness becoming visible—a truly Manichæan history. "
David Tibet, founder of Current 93
"Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin is one of the most insightful and well-researched studies of Crowley that I have read. Tobias’s work sheds a new and refreshing light on one of the most notorious and controversial characters in English esoteric history. A most useful and productive addition to my personal library. "
Tim Wallace-Murphy, author of thirteen books including, Rex Deus: The True Mystery of Rennes-Le-Chateau and the Dynasty of Jesus, Custodians Of Truth: The Continuance Of Rex Deus, and Hidden Wisdom: The Secrets of the Western Esoteric Tradition
"Churton has done it again! Exhaustively exploring The Beast’s sojourn through the kaleidoscope of cultural tumult that was the final years of the Weimar Republic, Churton's astute eye and clarity of composition provide the lucky reader with a riveting view into what was a hotbed of Sex, Art and Politics. Comprehensive and detailed, entertaining and edifying... All students of Thelema, which Crowley described as a “scientific system of ethics”, would do well to explore the maelstrom of forces at this pivotal place in Crowley’s work. Churton’s gifts at conjuring a fascinating and profound study from myriad sources are in evidence as usual, painting an engaging portrait of the Magus of the Aeon and the milieu in which he moved. "
Frater Puck, host of Thelema NOW!, US Grand Lodge - Ordo Templi Orientis