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While the subject matter of this book is fascinating, it could have hardly fallen into the hands of a less capable author.
The book opens with an hour-long tirade on how the dark ages weren't so very dark. Which, whether or not you believe it, has nothing to do with the topic of the book. And neither does the majority of the rambling, fruitless narrative that follows.
In sum, this book grows around anecdotes following the lives of various faith healers, magicians, and such. The author urges us time and again to consider that these men were not con artists, but have been misunderstood by history, despite evidence to the contrary laying thick about the narrative.
The worst of the book is in the author's complete failure to consider what his audience already knows, and what is new information that needs explaining. He consistently refers to terms and events without explaining what they mean, or explaining far too late. In one chapter, he centers his narrative around how hated the "French Convulsionists" were, without ever quite getting around to explaining what a Convulsionist was. The closest he gets is in describing the "first of the Convulsionists", but then he promptly tells us that she was unlike those who followed. What they did, or why they were so hated, is never mentioned.
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