The title of Lon Milo DuQuette's book, "Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot: An Authoritative Examination of the World's Most Fascinating and Magical Tarot Cards", is really long and really presumptuous. Even if the author possessed the skill, much less the will, to produce a truly "authoritative" book on the Thoth deck, one that would lead readers to "understanding" the fascination or the magick of Crowley's Tarot, he doesn't demonstrate it in this new book.
For this is yet another attempt to make Crowley, and particularly Crowley's Thoth Tarot, warm and fuzzy, something Crowley himself would personally have found revolting.
The author, in an attempt to make Crowley's deck more accessible to more (less ready) readers, bowdlerizes Thelema and particularly Crowley to the point of cuddly parody. For example, while liberally quoting Crowley's text from "Book of Thoth"---in fact that's the ONLY virtue in DuQuette's book---we get supposedly heart-warming glosses like finding out that the author's wife is upset that her birthdate falls into the decan of the Eight of Cups (Indolence---a "downer" DuQuette tells us). Meanwhile, Crowley's fascinating comparison of this card, and the Seven of Cups, to characters from Wagner's "Parsifal", are ignored, perhaps because the author hasn't seen the opera, or maybe he doesn't understand Crowley's point well enough to explain it to civilians. DuQuette constantly misses such opportunities to truly clarify Crowley's comments and the card essays in DuQuette's "Understanding" add little if anything to the understanding or discussion of Crowley's Tarotic ideas.
Much has been said about the "lighthearted" humor provided by the author, apparently some comic relief much welcomed by people who find Crowley's words a little too serious to take straight up. However, DuQuette's jokes, whose humor seems well occulted, are provided mainly at the expense of the reader, who is begged over and again to make (very) lite even of Aleister Crowley's darkest and most interesting sides.
Finally, the author seems at times to have only an amateur's acquaintance with English as a literary tool, sometimes misunderstanding the meanings of English words and often writing in a style that so offends the memory of Crowley's that the quoted sections of "Book of Thoth" seem entirely out of place in DuQuette's book, framed as they are by the author's pedestrian prose.