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Home > Books & Reviews > Speculative > Secret Societies of America's Elite Search

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Book Review:
Secret Societies of America's Elite: From the Knights Templar to Skull and Bones

Author: Steven Sora
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Publisher: Destiny Books
Publication date: 2004
List: US$20.00, C$28.55
ISBN: 0892819596
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 group.

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 colonies

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 politics.

Reviewed by Mike Gleason

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