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The Secret History of the World

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  1,648 ratings  ·  251 reviews
They say that history is written by the victors. But what if history-or what we come to know as history-has been written by the wrong people? What if everything we've been told is only part of the story?


In this groundbreaking and now famous work, Mark Booth embarks on an enthralling tour of our world's secret histories. Starting from a dangerous premise-that everything we'
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ebook, 512 pages
Published February 23rd 2010 by The Overlook Press (first published 2007)
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Bruce
First, let me go out on a limb and say this book has helped me become more awakened. Thus, 5 stars.

But this is a very narrow 5 stars-- I think the audience who would really appreciate this book is quite small.

First, if you are a science religionist, meaning, you are not interested in entertaining any world views contrary to your scientific beliefs, you will not like this book. It is about an alternate way of looking at the world, an alternate mode of consciouness than the reductionist materialis
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Andy
I tried to like this book, I really did. Maybe it gets better later, but I can only take so much. I tried to finish it, but the first 100+ pages simply follow the same formula over & over:

1) Describe part of human evolution as seen by secret societies.
2) Fail to explain or back up exactly what was just described.
3) Explain how mind-blowing what was just described is.
4) Point out that ancient man perceived the world differently from us and therefore was totally cool with what was just describ
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Emma
Aug 22, 2011 Emma rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: open-minded people
Shelves: history
It's a trip through a very strange history, a history you've probably never heard. Before you condemn the book, I urge you to take the author's advice in the beginning of the book: read this with a totally open mind and assume for the sake of debate that you've only heard one side of history. If you do that, the book will open your mind even more.

Booth isn't necessarily telling you that this book is really how history happened in a literal sense. He's just giving you another side - the side that
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Jackie
This is a fascinating read, but it's definitely not for everyone. If you're scientifically minded and need "proof" for his suppositions, you won't make it out of chapter one. However, if you approach it with an open mind and look at this book as a collection of ideas (of the author's, but also from many mystics and spiritualists through the ages) then it's extremely thought-provoking.

Some of it's a bit strange (the vegetable part of man is hard to wrap your head around), but all in all I didn't
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Matt Eckstein
Based on the summary of this book I thought I was going to learn about the beliefs of secret societies. Perhaps some detail about why many of them seem to have similarities and what the reasons are for that. Not the case.

First the author spends over 50 pages preparing you for the rest of the book. Explaining how the book isn't for everyone and that only open-minded people will want to read it. It's a silly trick to try to pull - if you don't like my book it's because you can handle my book. One
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Mark
I learned from this book just how gullible supposedly educated people can be. This is utter and useless dross.
Jim
Where to even begin with this book? The Secret History of the World: As Laid Down by the Secret Societies by author Mark Booth is every bit as ludicrous as the title sounds. That being said, there are moments of genuinely great writing and profoundly interesting ideas. Booth sabotages himself with far too many obscure references and endless name-dropping. And when I say endless name-dropping, I cannot over-exaggerate the sheer quantity Booth rambles on with.

Criticisms aside, I enjoyed much of th
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McKerley &  Schippers
The Secret History of the World is unique and therefore hard to review.
I think, in a hundred, maybe two-hundred years from now; people will point at this book and say:

"That was the time when humanity started to wake up and realized they could actually use the powerful knowledge they had been given throughout their esoteric past".

We don't always see it now, as we still live in the forest and then its hard to see the all the trees; but these are changing times in which humanity is making a shif
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Neil Kelly
mostly rubbish, with a lot of crap thrown in. A "romp" of logical fallacies, outlandish claims, cherry-picking of history, nothing new in fact. failure to differentiate the 'reporting' of facts (material or otherwise) from the drawing of inferences (of the unknown/unknowable from what can be known) from the making of judgements based on evaluation of the former (ie. clarification of values). So many claims qualify as banal, superficial, simplistic, even absurd - about Idealism versus Materialism ...more
Robert Lomas
In this book Jonathan Black sets out to capture the common elements of spiritual intuition which have inspired mystics and visionaries since the human race first began to tell itself stories about its origins and purpose. He puts forward ancient ideas such as 'the cosmos created the human brain in order to be able to think about itself' which eerily echo the modern thoughts of physicist John Wheeler who says 'By looking back, by observing what happened in the earliest days of the universe, we gi ...more
Cari
Awful. Terrible. Utter tripe. I'm not particularly religious and I have an open mind when it comes to alternative views of history as filtered through the beliefs and spirituality of old, but...oh my God, this garbage had me shouting at the pages before I finally threw up my hands and threw the book in my Get Rid of It box. So much ranting I could do but, considering I run the risk of writing the longest, most vitriolic rant in my reviewing life, I'll simply leave my status updates here. Concise ...more
Sasha
This book intrigued and repelled me for a very long time.
Intrigued because it had obvious appeal of unknown,attractive subject but the covers were so gaudy,tasteless and sensationalistic that I had impression this would turn into some silly rambling about cosmic plots against everybody and everything on earth. Than after months of world traveling,this book popped out in my local bookstore and I decided this was the sign: if it follows me from South Africa to my own corner of Croatia,it is obviou
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Nathan
The only two things I can fault is, for one, the ending .... the ending! It doesn't even end! It just stops! Secondly, if one reads the back cover, it's a bit misleading. If you knew nothing about it, you'd think it was a conspiracy book. What the book is actually about is the evolution of the spirit world and the history of secret societies, noting very strongly the influence they have had on the world.

Now onto the book itself: I found it to be extremely interesting. I wouldn't readily agree wi
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Gabriel
Apr 07, 2008 Gabriel rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crazy people
This book looks amazing right? I mean how could you go wrong?
Actually it was almost unreadable. Mr. Booth contends that the universe (mineral, plant, animal, human) was created by the "cosmic mind" which imagined these things into existence. Apparently humans were all one vegetable before "the fall", and are now striving to reconnect with our vegetable selves and the greater conscience of the cosmic mind. This began with Adam and went through the Egyptians and has since been coded and transmitte
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Megan
HAHAH WOW. This book is a joke.

I thought I was going to get some unbiased tellings of what some secret societies believe, perhaps some conspiracy theories, but NO. What I got to read was this pile of bigoted crap from an asshole who thinks himself to be better than everyone else because he's "enlightened." Now, I'm all up for someone introducing me to new beliefs, but instead of actually being interesting, Booth basically says some stuff that makes himself sound smart, claims that this is revolu
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Slyv
If you can put on a shelf your thoughts about how the world began with the big bang, and consider that perhaps "mind" was "here" first and humanity evolved through collective experience and consciousness rather than the world beginning with something solid........from mineral, to vegetable, to animal.

then, pg.212 " beware that this feels true in some unspecific poetic or, worse, spiritual way." .......you may "begin to walk down the road that leads straight to the lunatic asylum."

So, having sai
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M.L. Rudolph
2008. A stroll through history with an eye on the cryptic and hidden knowledge shared down the ages among initiates to secret societies.

I enjoyed the read but I'm not sure where I ended up at the end of the stroll.

Okay, knowledge is powerful and throughout most of history was carefully controlled - maybe still now? - and disagreeing with the men in power could cost you your life.

So there is/was samizdat circulated among the cognoscenti. There is more to heaven and earth than is dreamed of in
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Timothy Hunter
Jan 30, 2008 Timothy Hunter rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like to read almanacs
Recommended to Timothy by: Found it on a table
This is a serious book by an Oxonian and 20-year publisher. It was written from scraps of odd books picked up by the author (British). Publisher's Weekly says of the author's work that: "(Mark) Booth's history incorporates so many disparate philosophies...His universe is full of bizarre theories, entertaing primarily for their weirdness."

I am reading Chapter 17 about "The Age of Islam." It doesn't suggest much wierdness unless we classify the fact that Mohammed asked the Archangel Gabriel, while
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Cian O'donnell
I quit this book after 80 pages because it annoyed me to no end. I would probably never have began it in the first place, but I was recommended it by a friend who said that it summed up his views about the world. So I tried to give it a go. I stopped because almost every section appeared as pure conjecture based on little evidence. For example (page 53):

"Therefore let us now try to imagine ourselves into the mind of someone about two and a half thousand years ago, walking through woodland to a s
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Joy
Much of what I read sounded crazy. But that being said, the book really made me think about my spirituality. I loved the idea that by imagining a better world, some of that gets manifested in reality. So in a sense, our thoughts do matter. His view of unconditional love of your fellow man, was inspirational. His secret societies/mystery schools try to make better people and a better world, which is much different from my idea of the Freemasons being a secret society where they helped each other ...more
Tim Pendry
Mar 23, 2008 Tim Pendry rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in esoteric matters
Well, what a romp. I can only add what I put into a Blog Posting on this one ... " [it] could be read as a cynical attempt to capture interest in the occult, as an occult attempt to re-introduce the 'Hidden Masters' to the wider public, as a 'sinister' ideological project to undermine the Enlightenment, as playfulness, as an attempt to rehabilitate imagination and subjectivity as equal to rational thought, as an experiment in creating a 'grand narrative' for the esoteric or as genuine attempt to ...more
Ghalib Dhalla
Finally finished this book and just loved it. Requires some patience because it's packed with information about the esoteric and secret teachings, but will leave you craving for more if you're into that sort of thing.
William Blake
Gave up after about 100 pages. I felt I learned nothing, and could hope to penetrate no further into the nearly unreadable prose. I hope that this appeals to someone, but it's unquestionably not for me.
Fiona Ingram
For anyone interested in esoteric matters, mysteries, legends and many of the "is it true?" questions that haunt the world's myths and legends, this book is a must. From the world's beginnings, back in the mists of time, right through to present day, the author unfolds an ideology that many will find riveting, but equally as many will find either incomprehensible or down right unacceptable. True, some of the ideas tease the imagination and here the author warns sceptical readers to skip certain ...more
Troy
It's probably too much to ask an author to be an objective historian on the subject of esoteric philosphy, the occult, and the presence of a spiritual plane. But it's certainly not too much to ask him to not make italicized emphasis on essentially nothing, as if it were proof, or to make references to events (the simultaneous crucifiction of Satan incarnate in South America with that of Jesus) without any reference to really what he's talking about. In that sense, the book is annoying, in that i ...more
George
Equally fascinating and irritating, but I did keep reading it in spite of my scientific materialist rationalist beliefs. I accidently came across the book in an airport shortly after reading Dan Brown's latest and thought it would provide more info on the Masons and others. I didn't expect it would actively promote these various beliefs. The author skips along merrily from one belief set to another, making connections throughout the time and space continuum, mentioning all sorts of people, place ...more
George Mills
This is a wonderful book that combines many allegorical histories of mankind into one potent, modern myth about the evolution and nature of human consciousness.

I read it straight through 3 times - something I have never done with anything other than a text I was studying for school. Booth based his work on the highly symbolic histories of the theosophists and other occult, hermetic, and mystery groups and schools. These 'histories' are to be understood as allegorical explanations of the evolutio
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David Kerr-wilson
This book is a serious and non-fictional exploration of the esoteric traditions that have shaped the modern world. It will, of course, find fans in the conspiracy theorists and among the aficiandos of the secret societies, but ultimately, it is a book that explores the hostorical traditions and tries to re-normalize them to a their origins. While the author purports to have intimate knowledge of the societies, most of what is written is available through exploration of manuscripts and in stacks ...more
Phinehas
I couldn't decide whether to give this book two or four stars so I compromised and gave it three. It's kind of stupid, i.e. The author believes that ancient humans had fleshy appendages growing out of the middle of their foreheads, but it's also kind of awesome, i.e. the author believes ancient humans had fleshy appendages growing out of the middle of their foreheads.
Peggy
I totally loved this book... totally inspired me and fascinated me as I love history and find exciting all this fascinating theories.

Not te be read if you're alergic to esotericism of course :-)
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Mark Booth wrote most of his books under the pseudonym "Jonathan Black".
Goodreads however does not allow combining books by "different" authors (not even if the difference is only a spelling mistake, or if a book by two authors has been entered twice with the authors in a different order...!)
More about Mark Booth...
The Secret History of Dante: Unearthing the Real-Life Mysteries of the Inferno The Secret History of the World The Sacred History: How Angels, Mystics and Higher Intelligence Made Our World What I Believe Sidney in a Bermuda Triangle Mystery

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“The danger of delusion was made worse, by the love of delusion. What's best for me and what is worst for me, the thing I most ought to do and the thing I most ought not to do, look very much alike. In my heart of hearts I may know which is which - but then a spirit of perversity makes me want to choose wrongly. Great psychic perturbation always surrounds great beauty” 7 likes
“You cannot transform the world by wishful thinking -- you must do something about it.” 1 likes
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