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The Secret History of the World: As Laid Down by the Secret Societies Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 10, 2008

3.4 out of 5 stars 202 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, January 10, 2008
$15.76 $3.03

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Booth, a London publisher who has taught philosophy and theology at Oxford, is not shy about what he expects from readers—he asks that they enter into an imaginative exercise and embrace a world in which the basic facts of history can be interpreted in a way which is almost completely the opposite of the way we normally understand them. That radical re-interpretation is based on the tenets offered in the secret teachings of Rosicrucians, esoteric Freemasonry, Sufism and Kabbalism, among others, with additional references to Eastern religions and Greek and Roman mythology. According to Booth, these teachings inspire the cosmic mind that brought into being the material universe. Booth's history incorporates so many disparate philosophies, many of them far, far away from the mainstream, that it lacks all coherence. And his universe is full of bizarre theories, entertaining primarily for their weirdness. For example, he posits that the angels in the ancient Hebrew Book of Enoch who became sexually attracted to human women are none other than the Gods of Olympus. It is hard to imagine that readers without Booth's predilections for the metaphysical will find this to be anything more than an earnest curiosity. B&w illus. (Jan.)
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Review

"An entire library's worth of scholarship [in] a single volume." -- San Francisco Gate

"Authentically mind-boggling." -- Kirkus

"Breathtaking glimpses into worlds that heretofore have been little explored." -- Foreward

"The one true guide to Western and Eastern esoteric societies from the Freemasons to the Rosicrucians." -- Salon.com
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Hardcover; 3rd prt. edition (January 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590200314
  • ASIN: B005M4CTN0
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,882,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I stumbled upon this book at Barnes and Nobles. It introduced me to ideas I have never heard of before, important ideas such as the mind before matter universe. It also came at spirituality from a historical point of view which I had never experienced before in a book. Maybe there are flaws in Booth's research or disagreements over technical points but overall, I believe he is trying to create a consciousness and curiosity in readers which I believe he succeeds in doing. This is not a book about conspiracy theories as one would think of conspiracy theories. He does not spend a lot of time on the Illuminati etc. This is just an overview of what certain historical people have believed. This theme gets repetitious and I wish the information in the book was presented a little less jumbled. I feel it was probably published too soon, like if they would have spent more time editing and revising it, the book would have been better. I am giving it four stars based on the book's ability to make me think in a different light and because I appreciate the author's attempt to take on such an encompassing task as recounting the world's history from a completely different point of view.
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Format: Hardcover
To understand this book it is necessary a couple of things. First an understanding that this book is not for everybody and that it cannot be understood by everybody. Second, you cannot grasp this book without having yourself immersed in occultism and having been a member of a secret society or western mystery schools (Just type this in google and you will find out that there are many). Third, at the beginning the book Mr. Booth invites you to take part on an IMAGINATIVE exercise. Fourth, in the academic study of religion there are actually two types of histories considered; the secular or academic history, which is based on actual events that happened and can be proven scientifically through archeology; and sacred history, which takes as true and factual the events that are exposed in the sacred books like the Bible (Old and New testament) and the Koran among many others, which normally form the basis of faith, believes and dogmas of the followers. This book presents a third, subjective and related more to the evolution of our consciousness, which have been presented in secret societies or passed down as mysteries or mythology through the ages.
I will tell you that this book has nothing to do with conspiracy theories but that some of its contents may be misunderstood as such when in fact certain stories are used to present or represent certain ideas exposed in the western mystery traditions. Please note that western mystery traditions are concerned with direct spiritual experiences of reality and of a supreme being, this books talks about this too. Do not expect techniques or guidance on practices, but do expect hints on where to further research all through the book.
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Format: Hardcover
All the reviews which pan this book are right. There are inconsistencies in the text and the book is chock full of ideas with not one footnote. So what? This book attempts to recreate human history from what the author terms an "idealist" perspective. I would prefer to call it an "enlightened" perspective. The world is dreamstuff and human history is part of the dream. The human sense of ego self is a relatively new phenomenon in the progression of the dream. Booth spins Jung, Plato, Jesus, Buddha, Newton, and countless other thinkers into a magical souffle which is generously sprinkled with "Ah-Ha's" too numerous to count.

If you are looking for an intellectual history tome with lots of footnotes to ignore, look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you are reasonably well read and want to sit down to play with someone who can make the lego blocks of the mind into some outrageously bold structures, this is the book for you.
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Format: Paperback
What Mr. Booth does is combine all the major religions and the ancient civilizations into one, humanized, spiritual existence. His genesis story, running parallel with scientific theory, was truly amazing. Instead of prophesying about one righteous ideology, Booth shows the reader that all are alike. Whereas our ancient history takes us to the Egyptians and Sumerians, where did their ancient history take them? This is what the author wants us to think about. How did they created their myths and why? How those myths have been infused into modern religion. Once we can see this evolution will be able to see the greater existence of our being.

Some people have given the author four stars for lack of citation, other have roundly criticized him for this same thing. I disagree and challenge anyone to review and read what the author lists as his sources. There is no doubt that the author has spent more than two decades researching the material for THIS book. In my opinion, some dissertations lack the level of research and dedication Mr. Booth has spent in preparation.

I do have one small criticism. While I like the narrative, at times I felt the author was too hesitant to divulge either his true intentions, or the true intentions of what was meant. Like a prize fighter who takes down his opponents while sitting on the bench, at times I wanted Mr. Booth to get in the ring and knock someone out. He takes a step in that direction near the end of the book, but I believe he could have done so throughout. An example would be his discussion of the Indian mystery schools and Sufism. While he mentions that "it has been observed", has he - the author - ever observed what he's describing? Has he seen a mystic stop his heart from beating or lower his blood pressure on command, or become invisible?
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