Strictly scholarly works on mysticism are of course necessary and useful, but it is still a relief to come upon a history of mysticism written by someone where Spirit has awakened to itself. It gives it a freshness, immediacy and clarity that is often lost in the more scholarly works.
History of Mysticism: The Unchanging Testament by Swami Abhayananda (Stan Trout), is one of these books.
In going through the history of mysticism, from prehistoric to more recent times, he touches upon some of the highlights from many traditions, showing how they all describe the same realization of Spirit as emptiness and form.
(Brahman and Maya, Purusha and Prakrti, Shiva and Shakti, Sat and Asat, Vishnu and Lakshmi, Theos and Logos, Tathata and Samsara, Tao and Teh, the unspeakable Tao and the speakable Tao, El and Elat, Baal and Asherah, Yahweh and Chokmah, Haqq and Khalq, yang and yin, masculine and feminine, and so on.)
This lens gives the book a clear focus and message: there is one theme with minor variations from culture, tradition and personal flavor. It takes all the flavors of icecream and shows that it is all icecream. (If there is a minor drawback with the book, it is that it becomes somewhat predictable after a while, and that some of the interesting variations are downplayed.)
Still, highly recommended for its clarity, for its excellent overview of the history of mysticism, for its clear theme, and for its ability to inspire.