Author: Steven Sora
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Publisher: Destiny Books
Publication date: 2004
List: US$20.00, C$28.55
Price & More Info: Click Here
If you are hoping for an overview of modern "secret societies" in America,
you are liable to be disappointed by this book. Although the Skull and
Bones, a notorious society claiming such men as former President George H.
W. Bush, William F. Buckley, Senator John F. Kerry, and President George W.
Bush, flourishes on the campus of Yale, little attention is devoted to this
The subtitle of this book ("From the Knights Templar to Skull and Bones")
seems to promise a more in-depth look at current organizations. In this, it
fails to deliver. It does provide an in-depth look at Masonic influences
throughout American history (and travels some pathways on that journey), and
it is valuable for that reason
Mr. Sora may be an authority on secret societies in general, and the Masons
and Knights Templar in particular, but he perpetuates some common
misunderstandings of American history in some cases (e.g., on page 184 he
says "Citizens were...frequently burnt as witches.") Colonial witches were
hanged, as were their English counterparts.
If you are unaware of the extent of the influence of Masonry in the politics
of America, you will learn quite a lot by reading Mr. Sora's work. If, on
the other hand, you are already used to the labyrinthine twists of politics
and power in the U.S., you can spare yourself the expense of this book.
Mr. Sora spends a large part of this work exploring the part Masonry played
in pre- American Revolution Europe as well as in the fledgling United States
of America, after helping the colonies to win their independence. Many
Americans are unaware of the pre-Revolutionary War activities in these
Mr. Sora reveals the foundations of many of America's leading families -
what they did to lay the basis of their fortunes, how they invested their
returns, who married whom, and many of the "secrets" some of America's elite
families wish would remain hidden in the shadows.
Living in New England as I do, I was surprised to learn much of this history
of the prominent families which began their climb up the social ladder here.
Of course, a great deal of this history is glossed over in the "official"
histories, so as to avoid embarrassing surviving members of these families.
This was an interesting book in many ways, but I would not recommend it
unless you are primarily interested in the history of Masonic involvement in
Reviewed by Mike Gleason