THE ELEMENT ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SECRET SOCIETIES (2006) by John Michael Greer.
a skeptic and I don't believe the world is being run by secret
societies. (Seriously, does it look like anyone is in charge of things?)
a lot of history on offer in this book, and sorting the facts from
fiction. One thing I learned was that many secret societies functioned
as insurance funds during those times when public social security was
weak or absent. Or that secret societies exist in African countries and
Native American tribes.
Still, l wonder: What is it that Western
secret societies, you know, *actually do* today? (Apart from social
networking and frat parties for grownups?) Sad to say, this book answers
lots of questions except that one.
What's commendable about
this encyclopedia: it takes a firm stance against disinformation,
paranoia and bigotry. Various conspiracy theories are listed and
debunked. (More recent ones, such as "Q Anon," are missing.) Curiously, though, the book does promote the "Shakespeare didn't write his plays" hypothesis.
book makes a great source of inspiration for fiction writers. If you
want to learn more about secret socities, or you want to try your hand at writing conspiracy thrillers, or you're just curious, this
is an entertaining introduction.
(Caveat: the author is himself a
Freemason. Is he REALLY telling us everything...? ;-))
See also my review of Umberto Eco's FOUCAULT'S PENDULUM, elsewhere on this blog (or in my Instagram feed).
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