In this interesting and informative study, Maxwell-Stuart (history, St. Andrews University) traces the development of alchemy from the earliest mention of it in China to the present. He concentrates on two enduring themes, the transmutation of elements and the search for an elixir of life that will cure all illness and reverse aging. After covering the early beliefs in China, India, and Roman Egypt, Maxwell-Stuart investigates later European alchemical traditions. He explains the facts behind mystical orders such as the Rosicrucians and the Order of the Golden Dawn. Annotation ̴å©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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