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A Brief History of Secret Societies: The Hidden Powers of Clandestine Organizations and Elites from the Ancient World to the Present Day
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A Brief History of Secret Societies: The Hidden Powers of Clandestine Organizations and Elites from the Ancient World to the Present Day

3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  116 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Throughout history there have been societies of closed membership and covert purpose. From the Knights Templars to the freemasons, an intimate look at the inner workings of secret societies.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 22nd 2007 by Running Press (first published January 1st 1997)
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Jim
Feb 21, 2010 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Brief History of Secret Societies, by author David V. Barrett is an extremely well-researched look at secret societies in the modern world. Barrett has amassed a collection of facts and hypotheses regarding the esoteric movements and their connections throughout the history of Western culture, in particular Freemasonry.

Barrett begins his book by setting up some ground rules, if you will, about where he stands on politico-religious philosophy and terminology. This is to set up the foundation fo
...more
Darren Hemmings
Jul 16, 2010 Darren Hemmings rated it really liked it
When I bought this I was in the bookshop looking for something else entirely, but upon seeing the title I had to investigate further. I'm glad I did. Much as the title suggests your usual titillating work of questionable accuracy, the reality is that it couldn't be further from that, standing as one of very few books about the world of Freemasonry, the Rosicrucians & more that takes a completely objective - and dare I say sensible, down-to-earth - view. As we all know, the reality of conspir ...more
Ben Kesp
Oct 08, 2015 Ben Kesp rated it really liked it
This book can only be described as informative and certainly one that I believe everyone should read, removing the many myths associated with secret societies of the world. Starting from the dawn of ancient civilisation, the book objectively explores the hidden history of esoteric religious beliefs as the human race continuously seeks out knowledge and understanding of the world.

Dr. David Barrett, British sociologist of religion has amassed numerous works over his career. He contributes regular
...more
Marije
Dec 15, 2012 Marije rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, non-fiction
Very readable and informative overview of the history of secret societies like the Freemasons and Rosicrucians. Barrett makes sure he doesn't claim more than the evidence backs up, and when he specultaes he clearly says so.

He covers (among others) the Zoroastrians and Gnostics of the first centuries before and after CE, via the Cathars and Knights Templar of the 12th century, the Rosicrucians and Freemasons foundedc in the 17th century until finally the stream of esoteric movements from the lat
...more
Josh
Jul 14, 2007 Josh rated it really liked it
The book title is a bit of a misnomer. For all intents and purposes this is a brief history of Freemasonry, the Rosicruicians, and the Tarot. While the book features information on other secret societies such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Mafia, and the KKK these subjects are so briefly discussed they could have been omitted. It would seem that the focus of this book was to show how these groups handle esoteric religions, and the 'golden thread' that links mainstream religions. I ...more
Graham
Oct 30, 2013 Graham rated it liked it
Decent overview of various esoteric societies. I felt like the author could've left off things like the Mafia and the Klan since his focus seemed to lie primarily with the more mystical side of things.
Obscure Literary
Aug 18, 2016 Obscure Literary rated it liked it
Fairly interesting
Jessie B.
Interesting, very even handed and readable, this book looks at the history of secret societies including historical context and with a critical eye to sensational myths, and an open mind.
Jan
Jan 02, 2009 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An extremely well researched, critical and objective book. Highly informative.
Ana
Jul 31, 2013 Ana rated it liked it
A great amount of information, but it feels too dense and clutter. Sometimes less is more
Steve
Jul 06, 2013 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At times interesting and informative, at others a hard slog.
Ruth
Ruth rated it it was ok
Jul 28, 2011
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Mackenzie Backs
Apr 04, 2017 Mackenzie Backs rated it really liked it
Informative and very interesting.
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