One might argue that O.T.O., especially as it functioned with Crowley as OHO and afterwards, was a product of 19th Century American esotericism and the religio-magical strains functioning in Belle Epoque France. When you read the doctrinal manuscripts of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, an Order administered by Scots who emigrated to the U.S., seeing it as fertile ground whereon to grow their group, or the multi-media events Josephin Peladan staged in Paris — a significant amount of details will be familiar to current O.T.O. and A.’.A.’. initiates, I’d suggest.
Ergo I’m thinking the Miles Harvey’s new book THE KING OF CONFIDENCE A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch could be of interest. It recounts the story of a renegade Mormon leader, James Strang, who eventually commandeered an entire island and had himself crowned King. Of especial interest is the book’s look at the zeitgeist that made this sort of narrative relatively common in the U.S. The New York Times reviewed the book, an excerpt pointing out:
“His account of Strang’s rise and fall is littered with thumbnail histories of 19th-century cross-dressing, John Brown, John Deere, the Brontës, bloomers, the Underground Railroad, mesmerism, newspaper exchanges, the Illuminati and much else. This approach amounts to a sort of historical pointillism, bringing the manic, skittering mood of the era into focus. It is a style of history well suited to the antebellum decades, when American culture was most unabashedly itself — uprooted, credulous and bold with scattershot plans for civic and moral perfection. Horace Greeley, who embodied that time almost as well as King Strang, wrote of living in ‘this stammering century.’”