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This book looks at some of history's most fascinating recluses and remarkable loners. Some withdrew from society for religious reasons, as in the case of the hermits and ascetics who gave their lives entirely to the service of God by meditating alone in the desert, in cliffside caves, in monastic cells, or, as in the case of Saint Simeon Stylites, on top of a tall rock pillar for 37 years. Some of the world's most powerful leaders and monarches have also sought a solitary and secluded life to try to escape from the burden of their responsibilities: Ludwig II of Bavaria built some of the world's most beautiful fairytale castles on the Rhine, and then lived in them in self-imposed loneliness and seclusion. There are those who hide from the demands of celebrity, like Greta Garbo; and from the pressures of everyday human society, like millionaire Howard Hughes.

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