Book Review: The Secret History of the World

The Overlook Press

In The Secret History of the World, author Mark Booth sets out to expose what students of the mystery schools know and believe about the history of humanity. There are 150,000 copies of this book in print. This does not mean that all, or even many of those have been read. Let’s hope no one falls for his flumadiddle if they do. However, after the first few pages I found myself strangely compelled to read on. I needed the entertainment.

Mr. Booth, who has degrees from Oxford in this stuff (Philosophy and Theology) and a personal interest in occult and esoteric literature is apparently unaware of the tradition, nay, the sworn duty of initiated occultists and students of the mysteries, the duty to obfuscate (hide) their teachings from the eyes of the uninitiated.

Booth has not been initiated, and says because of this fact he is free to read and reveal what he will of the mysteries. And away he rips at the veils. He is a good researcher, and presents the material well. A lot of what he uncovers is enlightening, real, right and true. Some of his conclusions sound like laughably rediculous invention, and he knows it. This is the compelling bit. I kept reading to see how much he believed.

Many occult authors will even admit to obfuscation to keep information from the uninitiated.The books are written for the “choir” to read. If you know, then you will know when what you read is silly. — If you don’t then you may end up looking a little gullible. I guess he missed those bits.

Oopsie! I almost gave it away… but what I can say is that seeking for the secrets without knocking at the door is likely to get the untrained person into esoteric trouble. That is why any moral student of the arts will take pains to conceal the good bits.

His fact gathering and research were panoramic in scope, and I found it particularly remarkable that the only women he found worth noting in all of his history were M. Blavatsky and Anne Besant. There were goddesses mentioned, including Isis and the Madonna, but these are not the same. I will not fault Booth too badly in this however as it is almost impossible to find any but genetic evidence of women in history at all. Example? Just try to discover your great great grandmother’s maiden name.

Women’s mysteries are even more hidden than the men’s secret societies. And in their secrecy lies the memory of the burning times, the Catholic Inquisition when 9 million were tortured in fear of the craft. Others also called heritics were lumped in the number for believing that the earth went round the sun and other “unholy” truths. One hopes we have grown beyond such horrors to allow freedom of thought. Even, and perhaps especially, unorthodox ones.

Regardless, Mr. Booth proves once again that higher education and book learning create myopia and will never substitute for the real world experience of actually going and doing a thing. I would encourage him to go skinny dipping, play in the mud, or otherwise explore reality outside his comfortable chair in the library or bookshop. Then perhaps revisit the subject with a little more common sense. *AD


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