Does a sinister cabal actually control international affairs? Were William Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln secretly involved with a group founded to discover and preserve the principles of alchemy? Has an ancient mystical religion really been reduced to a length of red string that sells for a dollar an inch? Secret societies surround us, yet they often remain a mystery. Their secrecy suggests sacrilege and crime, and their loyalties stand accused of undermining the world's governments. They generate fear, suspicion, and - above all - fascination.
From the parched wadis of the Middle East to the crowded boutiques of Beverly Hills, award-winning author John Lawrence Reynolds peels away centuries of speculation and paranoia and shines a brilliant light on organizations that have been shrouded in secrecy for ages, from the Templars and the Mafia to the Priory of Sion and Skull & Bones. He offers a smart and surprising behind-the-scenes exploration of the tales - confirmed and fabricated - that surround the best-known and often least-understood secret societies.
Narrator Fred Sanders takes listeners on a tour of such infamous historical groups as Yakuza, the Priory of Sion, and the Freemasons in a voice that is sober, clear, and measured. Appropriate, since Secret Societies, by Canadian author John Lawrence Reynolds, is hardly the stuff of tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorists. Reynolds takes a researched-based approach to these sensational shadow groups, debunking his share of conspiracy theories along the way. And yet, chapters on The Assassins, the 11th-century Iranian spiritual cousin to al-Qaeda, and Skull and Bones, the Yale-based group that boasts such members as George W. Bush and John Kerry, demonstrate that the histories of even historical groups can be frighteningly relevant. A fascinating trip through time, Secret Societies, is catnip for history buffs.
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