The cover is enticing, a mixture of international and German images and words which give any prospective reader the impression they are going to discover something new about certain secret societies, such as the Freemasons, Opus Dei and the Illuminati. Linked to a forthcoming television series, this work has been compiled by several authors as a collection of short essays revealing the history and inner workings of secret societies around the world: how they began, how they operate, what their secrets are. It is a compilation of facts and figures which are readily available elsewhere and which have been covered by other works more than adequately over several hundred years. There is absolutely nothing new in this work, nothing that a newcomer to the subject couldn’t have found elsewhere, nothing that adds to what we already know. Worse still, the bulk of this book is taken up not with secret societies, but with speculation over conspiracy theory surrounding the moon landings, the World Trade Center attack, Area 51 and Roswell.
Photo Credit: Kenn Wilson – Creative Commons
A relatively well-informed reader will also discover that much of what has been presented here appears to have been taken piecemeal from other works. There are quotations – for example from Cicero and Tertullian – which are not listed in the chapter notes, they have been taken from other works, second and third hand quotations. There is a mass of speculation, but very little by way of revelation, many questions and few adequate answers. It is, in effect, simply a television series printed as a book, but without the music to add substance.
For a newcomer to secret societies, or an avid television viewer, perhaps of interest, but no more than that. That the bulk of the work has nothing to do with secret societies is more than disappointing, that the information reproduced here is commonly available in much better works a lesson for readers as much as for writers: if you promise something new, if you promise answers, deliver. This book does none of that.
Published by Rowohlt (German language). ISBN: 978 3 498 02526 7.
- Viktoria Michaelis.