A History of Secret Societies has ratings and 16 reviews. Leo said: This is a good book if one has a good knowledge of history to start. However I di. LibraryThing Review. User Review – krisiti – More a study of religion than societies, I think; most were really more what I would call mystery . Find A History Of Secret Societies by Daraul, Arkon at Biblio. Uncommonly good collectible and rare books from uncommonly good booksellers.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Almost every social system throughout history has produced its secret societies. Here is a unique study of such societies from earliest recorded times to the present, along with an analysis of their forms, rituals, and beliefs.

The author has traveled extensively to gather documentation. Paperbackpages. Published November 1st by Citadel first published January 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about A History of Secret Societiesplease sign up. Be the first to ask a question about A History of Secret Societies.

Lists with This Book. Oct 03, Leo. This is a good book if one has a good knowledge of history to start. However I did enjoy the read.

Dec 06, Walt rated it it was ok Shelves: A light and cursory reading that mixes scholarship with sensationalism. When considering a topic as broad as secret societies, it is seemingly impossible to adequately cover all of them. The selected societies in this text are an odd mixture of religious groups, criminal bands, and social phenomena. Some readers may raise an eye brow that Sufis and Buddhists are included alongside the Illuminati and Rosicrucians.

The study of each group also takes unusual paths. The author focuses a lot on cerem A light and cursory reading that mixes scholarship with sensationalism.

The author focuses a lot on ceremony and degrees of initiation rather than the historical account of the societies. A chapter entitled “The High Priesthood of Thebes” is entirely devoted to initiation rites. This would be much more fascinating to the reader if they had some background as to this group.

In a few places the author does better at balancing the orders of the societies with actual history. His chapters on the Tongs and Charcoal Burners of Italy show these groups to be more focused on crime than socio-political-religious leanings.

Overall, the chapters are too cursory, even with just examining just 24 societies.

There are no references or further readings. This can be maddening when wanting to know more about the Charcoal Burners and their Medieval Sicilian counterparts, the Avengers; or even more information about the Guardian Angel or Peacock Angel devotees. This book does little more than spread a vague awareness of the topic. I have to admit that I skimmed the last 50 or so pages of this.

A History Of Secret Societies by Daraul, Arkon

It isn’t that the information is bad, or the writing, but that it became so very repetitive as the author cataloged the initiation information and goals of these societies that he examined.

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And there is a wide selection: While I did pick up some information that I didn’t have before, the book as a whole was only partly ‘a history’, and as secget or more I have to admit that I skimmed the last 50 or so pages of this. In the end, the book feels too cursory, and the repetition makes me doubt much of it will stick with me.

Probably better to look for books that deal with each dwraul alone, if that is an area of interest, although, if all one was looking for was faraul introduction to secret associations, this might be all one needs. Nov 08, Tucker rated it liked it Shelves: The material is very interesting.

The writing is unfortunately a little difficult to follow. Histories are not always arranged chronologically, so suddenly the reader will be yanked into a different century without warning or explanation. Theological beliefs are sometimes described as if they are historical fact; sometimes this is clarified later oscieties the chapter, and sometimes not. There is not much solid theoretical analysis, either, but, if you can sort out the information, there’s many intrigu The material is very interesting.

There is not much sodieties theoretical analysis, either, but, if you can sort out the information, there’s many intriguing stories. Information about the Skoptsi sect in Russia was posted to Disruptive Dissertation. Mar 13, Kristi Thompson rated it it was ok Shelves: More a study of religion than societies, I think; most were really more what I would call mystery cults.

And not terribly secret, most of them I found the Sufi and the followers of the Peacock Angel the most interesting. I could imagine joining them. In the chapter on witchcraft I started wondering, though. He complained that other researchers of the phenomenon picked and chose what evidence to base their conclusions on, then went ahead and did the same thing.

Dec 28, RB rated it really liked it. If you can track this down, this has a whole range of whacky material and is one of the best of its ilk I’ve come across. Dec 12, David added it. Thorough, engaging and well planned out. Though not exhaustive, “A History of Secret Societies” provides a nice introduction to various teachings and spiritual expressions.

Feb 10, Annette rated it liked it Shelves: Sep 05, Michael T. Enjoyed reading this an felt that I actually learned some stuff.

Jul 14, Timm rated it really liked it Shelves: Interesting high-level overview of various societies. Look elsewhere for depth. A series of essays on various secret darail throughout time. Too cursory to be very interesting unfortunately.

I thought that this was a simple easy to read snapshot of several secret societies from history. It does not go too in-depth its a short book but I would recommend it. Jul 04, Roland Volz rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a “classic” from the field of Conspiratorial studies, which I’ve started many times over the decret twelve or so years but never finished until now.

Written by author Idries Shah under a pen name “Arkon Daraul”this is an old book with some interesting bits to it. Shah plays a little fast and loose with many of his allegations, but he has something of value to add. He claims to have had contact with several of the societies he writes about, but is vague with details.

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He also fails to ci This is a “classic” from the field of Conspiratorial studies, which I’ve started many times over the last twelve or so years but never finished until now.

He also fails to cite many references, and there’s no bibliography, which would have made this a five-star book for me — if he’s wrong, at least with his sources handy you can check for yourself. Shah’s main thesis seems to be that most secret societies contain at their core some ecstatic ritualized experience which is what transforms the member into someone new. That’s basically the definition of an esoteric society, so it’s nothing new, but it’s interesting how many societies he claims arokn for.

He also lists the Sufi Islamic cabbalists and Tibetan Buddhism as secret sicieties, which is actually pretty funny. An entertaining read, if a little difficult to slog through sometimes. Definitely recommended as a oscieties point, as long as your willing to check your facts. It covers the Assassins, the Knights Templar, and the Rosicrucians in quite some detail; the Sufi, the Mithraists, the Skoptsi, the Carbonari, the Garduna, ancient Mystery cults, the Decided, the Yezidi, the Tibetan Buddhists, the Thuggee, the medieval witches, and the Vehm are given shorter investigations.

I found this while cleaning out an old garage and loft.

Having some interest in obscure cults I took it home and, despite its failings, finished it in a couple of hours. Author Shah assembles a hodgepodge of ‘secret societies’, most of them ‘religious’, a few political. There is no method discernable, though a few accounts include reference to his personal experiences with some groups. If there’s any merit to this book it may be in its being oriented to the East, many of the groups discussed bein I found this while cleaning out an old garage and loft.

A History of Secret Societies

If there’s any merit to this book it may be in its being oriented to the East, many of the groups discussed being referred back to Islamic sects and even older pre-Islamic sects. These supposed transmissions through the centuries are often, in my opinion, quite dubious and Shah’s evidences, being usually unfootnoted, are suspect. Jan 12, Lesley Prince rated it really ssocieties it Shelves: Very interesting book, but a bit of a curate’s egg good in parts and not others.

Nevertheless I learned a great deal from it, not least where Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson got some of their material for Illuminatus! It’s a caraul and fast overview of a plethora of secret societies existing since yore. Though the author does not really delve into detailsthere’s enough to keep you gripped and flipping through the pages. A good one-time readif you are into non-fiction mysteries.

Easy to read and informative. At times, a bit history text bookish, but still a good read. Mmmjay rated it liked it Mar 31,