Certainly the author does discuss recent outbreaks of what is widely believed to be manifestations of satanism. But he also argues that satanism is not a recent phenomenon. It has always been an inspirational means of promoting violence and civil unrest. It surely makes sense to regard the current crop of terrorists as purveyors of the diabolical.
The author examines the 1989 torture-sacrifice of fifteen persons by Adolfo Constanza and his drugs fueled gang in Mexico. The gang leader had apparently been a psychic to celebrities and had been heavily involved in the occult. It could be argued that drugs leads people to behave in bizarre and violent ways: as I write this, a young man stands trial for murder while under the influence of drugs. While one should not entirely dismiss the occult in these situations, it is best to discern with care and caution. The author also discusses the 1987 murder of a young man by members of his own gang. One of the accused was obsessed by drugs and heavy metal music. Again it could be argued that it was drugs that led to murder, not the occult. But it is interesting to note that concerns about occult activity are often reported by the police and social workers, not just by "Christian fundamentalists." The author does not believe in conspiracies involving satanic networks. His more modest suggestion is that certain forms of behavior opens souls to the demonic.
The author's theological considerations prove extremely interesting. He argues that medieval forms of satanism had less to do with direct devil worship than following the errors of Catharism which held that there is an eternal struggle between the god of light and the god of darkness. Its followers believed in the integration of light and darkness, which, to this reviewer sounds like a theory put forward by Carl Jung!
Much of the individuals discussed in this book are to be expected: Aleister Crowley, Anton LaVey and Charles Manson. Others are less expected: Baudelaire and Huysmans, for example. My own view is that Lavey was a charlatan with an insatiable desire for attention. Nevertheless, details about his relationship with Hollywood film stars and his presence during the film Rosemary's Baby makes for an interesting read.
My overall conclusion is that there are many interesting observations in this book. It does not
deserve to be slammed. Nevertheless, one is drawn to the age old conclusion that the devil is at his most powerful
when he is hidden.