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Skull and bones : la vérité sur l'élite secrète qui dirige les États-Unis

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« Lors de ma dernière année d’étude [à l’université de Yale], j’ai rejoint la société secrète Skull and Bones, une société tellement secrète que je ne peux en dire plus. » George W. Bush Une confrérie de privilégiés est-elle à l’origine de l’idée de la bombe atomique comme de la création de la CIA ? L’économie et la politique américaines puisent-e « Lors de ma dernière année d’étude [à l’université de Yale], j’ai rejoint la société secrète Skull and Bones, une société tellement secrète que je ne peux en dire plus. » George W. Bush Une confrérie de privilégiés est-elle à l’origine de l’idée de la bombe atomique comme de la création de la CIA ? L’économie et la politique américaines puisent-elles leurs sources dans une crypte de la prestigieuse université de Yale ? Composé d’actuels et d’anciens élèves, fondé en 1832, le club Skull and Bones est le tremplin des grandes carrières aux États-Unis. La confrérie évalue scrupuleusement ses candidats, favorisant à vie les enfants des anciens membres, souvent fortunés et influents. Alexandra Robbins, journaliste d’investigation, elle-même ancienne élève de Yale, a mené une enquête historique et exhaustive qui lève enfin le voile sur les rites initiatiques juvéniles et les réseaux d’influence des seniors. Plus qu’un best-seller international, une immersion captivante dans les arcanes du pouvoir. À 29 ans, Alexandra Robbins écrit pour le New Yorker, le Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, le Chicago Tribune… Elle s’est fait connaître à l’âge de 23 ans pour une enquête sans concessions sur les études de G.W. Bush à Yale.


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« Lors de ma dernière année d’étude [à l’université de Yale], j’ai rejoint la société secrète Skull and Bones, une société tellement secrète que je ne peux en dire plus. » George W. Bush Une confrérie de privilégiés est-elle à l’origine de l’idée de la bombe atomique comme de la création de la CIA ? L’économie et la politique américaines puisent-e « Lors de ma dernière année d’étude [à l’université de Yale], j’ai rejoint la société secrète Skull and Bones, une société tellement secrète que je ne peux en dire plus. » George W. Bush Une confrérie de privilégiés est-elle à l’origine de l’idée de la bombe atomique comme de la création de la CIA ? L’économie et la politique américaines puisent-elles leurs sources dans une crypte de la prestigieuse université de Yale ? Composé d’actuels et d’anciens élèves, fondé en 1832, le club Skull and Bones est le tremplin des grandes carrières aux États-Unis. La confrérie évalue scrupuleusement ses candidats, favorisant à vie les enfants des anciens membres, souvent fortunés et influents. Alexandra Robbins, journaliste d’investigation, elle-même ancienne élève de Yale, a mené une enquête historique et exhaustive qui lève enfin le voile sur les rites initiatiques juvéniles et les réseaux d’influence des seniors. Plus qu’un best-seller international, une immersion captivante dans les arcanes du pouvoir. À 29 ans, Alexandra Robbins écrit pour le New Yorker, le Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, le Chicago Tribune… Elle s’est fait connaître à l’âge de 23 ans pour une enquête sans concessions sur les études de G.W. Bush à Yale.

30 review for Skull and bones : la vérité sur l'élite secrète qui dirige les États-Unis

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Okay so things I learned from this book: 1) Yale is kinda the worst?? 2) I mean it's probably fine. 3) But if you have no experience of it and only read this book, it seems like basically the worst. Elitist, conservative, snobbish, bratty, academically disinclined. Alexandra Robbins doesn't do well by her alma mater. 4) Skull & Bones is the worst of these worsts. 5) The patriarchs had hissy fits in the 70s when the current members wanted to include women. wtf. Also Y Okay so things I learned from this book: 1) Yale is kinda the worst?? 2) I mean it's probably fine. 3) But if you have no experience of it and only read this book, it seems like basically the worst. Elitist, conservative, snobbish, bratty, academically disinclined. Alexandra Robbins doesn't do well by her alma mater. 4) Skull & Bones is the worst of these worsts. 5) The patriarchs had hissy fits in the 70s when the current members wanted to include women. wtf. Also Yale only became coed in the 60s?! wtf 6) People really cared about the Skull & Bones while George W. was president. 7) George W. was also the worst. 8) Secret societies are ridiculous and really adolescent. 9) Networking is everything and I'm going to be poor forever. In seriousness: Overall, this was okay. I read it cause I'm currently into Yale (for ~writing research~), not secret societies, so I found some of the chapters -- particularly the one outlining the Bush connections in excessive detail -- seriously boring. BUT: in the end, Robbins does a solid job of debunking some of the insane conspiracies, and I did really enjoy the history of Yale stuff. But honestly if anyone seriously thinks secret societies are anything other than pretentious little shits being pretentious little shits, I mean, they shouldn't.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Hillary

    This was a disappointing read. I was a big fan of "Overachievers," and while "Pledged" was not as interesting, it was still a decent read. The latest book from Robbins, however, was a huge let down. It was almost painful to read, carrying on for pages and pages about Yale history, reciting old poems, and other stories only peripherally relating to the Skull and Bones society. It seemed like she didn't have enough relevant info for a book, so she added a ton of unnecessary filler to stretch it ou This was a disappointing read. I was a big fan of "Overachievers," and while "Pledged" was not as interesting, it was still a decent read. The latest book from Robbins, however, was a huge let down. It was almost painful to read, carrying on for pages and pages about Yale history, reciting old poems, and other stories only peripherally relating to the Skull and Bones society. It seemed like she didn't have enough relevant info for a book, so she added a ton of unnecessary filler to stretch it out.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tim O'Hearn

    When it comes to secret societies, Yale's Skull and Bones is the modern-day equivalent of the Illuminati. The author's theory (with some evidence) is that it is a bonafide branch of the Illuminati. Regardless, it's hard to believe that a society initiating just 15 members a year with less than 800 living members at any one time could have a roster featuring most of the prominent members of the Bush and Taft families plus John Kerry. It's a natural source of intrigue--has been for cent When it comes to secret societies, Yale's Skull and Bones is the modern-day equivalent of the Illuminati. The author's theory (with some evidence) is that it is a bonafide branch of the Illuminati. Regardless, it's hard to believe that a society initiating just 15 members a year with less than 800 living members at any one time could have a roster featuring most of the prominent members of the Bush and Taft families plus John Kerry. It's a natural source of intrigue--has been for centuries--and Alexandra Robbins wraps it together quite nicely. Though not a "patriarch," she reveals secrets and dispels rumors, having interviewed a bevy of Skull and Bones members. She covers all the bases, way deeper than any Wikipedia page or Youtube video. The tale of the Bonesmen is intertwined with the history of Yale, and, with that, the evolution of higher education in the United States. While not as deep as the fraternal history book The Company He Keeps, it's a fascinating sideshow. There are arguments for and against secret societies through the book. Surprisingly, at the end, the author reveals that she too was in a secret society (Scroll and Key, no less). The point that stood out to me is that several Yalies opined that secret societies, by nature of their exclusivity, served to goad undergraduates to achieve at the highest level possible. The logic is that most people will hate the societies if that's what the crowd is doing, but, secretly, most would die for a "tap" (a bid for membership). Without a chance at this final stamp of excellence, many college students would lose ambition toward the end of their journey. This is applicable, to some level, to mainstream fraternities as well, but, of course, we can't talk about it out loud. What makes this book a bit of a loser is that it feels like an attack on the Bush family. It was published right before the 2004 presidential election. People seem to forget that George W. Bush was not as highly regarded back then as he is today (the result of a meticulous, subconscious PR campaign). Most people probably also don't know that Alexandria Robbins was the person who broke the story of George Bush's SAT score. To this day, those numbers serve as one of the greatest rebuffs of Bush's "I did it on my own" legacy. In a wild twist, this turned out poorly for the author, because the Bush family is considered off-limits now. Who would have thought! Enjoyable story about American history and some of the country's most prominent families, but the overtones are too much.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    Read this book in a day, skimming some parts. Definitely find it interesting how a club that takes only 15 members a year has "produced" 3 US Presidents (Taft, Bush 1 & 2 - plus John Kerry), Secretaries of State and Defense, members of the CIA, heads of every major bank, and a laundry list of employees in both Bush White Houses. Definitely confirms what an "old boys club/old money club" our country and our political system really is in many respects. In short doesn't sound like there's much Read this book in a day, skimming some parts. Definitely find it interesting how a club that takes only 15 members a year has "produced" 3 US Presidents (Taft, Bush 1 & 2 - plus John Kerry), Secretaries of State and Defense, members of the CIA, heads of every major bank, and a laundry list of employees in both Bush White Houses. Definitely confirms what an "old boys club/old money club" our country and our political system really is in many respects. In short doesn't sound like there's much mystery or anything that cool about the club itself as a senior at Yale, but the web of network you're brought into for the rest of your life is stunning ... and creepy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    This book read like a term paper, and was just as interesting.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    DNF at 33% It was slow going and a lot of dry (to me) history on Yale and the university system in the US. I jut couldn't bring myself to pick it up for 2 days so I'm not going to force myself.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cwn_annwn_13

    There is a lot of interesting stuff in this but you have to ask yourself how much the information in it can be trusted because for one the author gets a good portion of it from anonymous Skull & Bones members who talked because they claimed they were tired of hearing so much weird speculation about them. So for one, how can you be sure what they told her was accurate and not intentional disinformation. For another even if what they gave her was true, its still information that they chose to There is a lot of interesting stuff in this but you have to ask yourself how much the information in it can be trusted because for one the author gets a good portion of it from anonymous Skull & Bones members who talked because they claimed they were tired of hearing so much weird speculation about them. So for one, how can you be sure what they told her was accurate and not intentional disinformation. For another even if what they gave her was true, its still information that they chose to let out but not the whole story. Another big factor that has to make you wonder is it turns out that the woman who wrote Secrets of the Tomb was her self a member of another elitist secret society at Yale, Scroll & Key. This book is worth reading if your researching S & B but you just have to wonder how honest it is. The best book on the Skull & Bones is Fleshing Out Skull & Bones which was edited by Kris Millegan. Antony Suttons work on the 322 cabal is also highly recomended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Eh, just ok. It gets long-in-the-tooth in many places when discussing the history of Yale, much of it not related to the society. I decided to read the book because of the publicity about the society during the Kerry/Bush campaign. With all the discussion about what may or may not happen to members who talk, I find it curious if not unbelievable that the author would have access to members who so openly spill the beans--even if she was a member of another secret society. Why on earth would membe Eh, just ok. It gets long-in-the-tooth in many places when discussing the history of Yale, much of it not related to the society. I decided to read the book because of the publicity about the society during the Kerry/Bush campaign. With all the discussion about what may or may not happen to members who talk, I find it curious if not unbelievable that the author would have access to members who so openly spill the beans--even if she was a member of another secret society. Why on earth would members of one secret society spill their secrets to a member of another, separate secret society? Doesn't add up. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining book. Makes you go, "hmmmm....?"

  9. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    Robbins' Secrets of the Tomb has a wonderful thesis but the reader won't be quite sure what that is exactly until the book's last three pages. Therefore, the work is extremely unorganized and confusing. Had Robbins reorganized her work and offered the reader better guidance, Robbins really could have written something very profound by capitalizing off of the power of imagery and running with it. Instead, the book comes off as a hodgepodge of questionable statements and out-of-place personal expe Robbins' Secrets of the Tomb has a wonderful thesis but the reader won't be quite sure what that is exactly until the book's last three pages. Therefore, the work is extremely unorganized and confusing. Had Robbins reorganized her work and offered the reader better guidance, Robbins really could have written something very profound by capitalizing off of the power of imagery and running with it. Instead, the book comes off as a hodgepodge of questionable statements and out-of-place personal experiences with a magnificent finish.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    This book was a disappointment, mostly because Skull and Bones turns out, in her exposition, to be nothing more than an association of spoiled kids with silly rites and little social significance beyond serving as one means by which the rich and the powerful network to their own advantage. However, if you hate members of the Bush and the Walker families, all of them, this book with add fuel to the fire.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    I hated this book! I had previously read one of the author's book and enjoyed that book. But this book was a real let down. I felt led on, that I was going to find out all these secrets! I think I learned more from the movie "The Skulls". Big disappointment for me!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Robbins

    Sorry, dudes. It's not a satan-worshiping cult. But it is pretty weird.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I have enjoyed Robbins other books, so I was surprised to find this one to be such a painful read. Parts of the book were great; but the rest I had to force myself to read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sam Cross

    I'm extremely surprised that the author (presumably) chose to write on this topic of her own volition. The research is there,* but the organization and inspiration are not, so the book reads like an undergraduate paper for a class the author didn't particularly want to take. The "secrets" revealed are largely benign and uninteresting, but that doesn't stop the author from repeating them throughout the book. The chapter titles are largely ornamental - the same topics were repeated agai I'm extremely surprised that the author (presumably) chose to write on this topic of her own volition. The research is there,* but the organization and inspiration are not, so the book reads like an undergraduate paper for a class the author didn't particularly want to take. The "secrets" revealed are largely benign and uninteresting, but that doesn't stop the author from repeating them throughout the book. The chapter titles are largely ornamental - the same topics were repeated again and again, regardless of their irrelevance to the section theme. The most frustrating part of the book is that it's a superficial collection of information without any real exploration. The "facts"* are stated, but their significance is not explained in context. Bones alumni contributed to Bush's presidential campaign - so, what? That's not new, not a secret, not shocking, or even mildly surprising. The "hidden paths of power" explained in the book are not hidden, and neither are their implications explored. If you're looking to glean more than a basic background on the origins of the Ivy League, I would not recommend this. *without citation

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Bucci

    1.5. Maybe I should have realized from the description, but terribly unexciting, lots of focus on the 1800s and more a history of Yale itself than S&B at times. Grouped by theme, so not very linear time wise, and felt like there was lots of bouncing and repetition even within chapters. The first chapter on the legend was so inflammatory that I thought the whole thing would be garbage - was relieved by the scholarly approach at first but then just got really, really bored and ended up skimmin 1.5. Maybe I should have realized from the description, but terribly unexciting, lots of focus on the 1800s and more a history of Yale itself than S&B at times. Grouped by theme, so not very linear time wise, and felt like there was lots of bouncing and repetition even within chapters. The first chapter on the legend was so inflammatory that I thought the whole thing would be garbage - was relieved by the scholarly approach at first but then just got really, really bored and ended up skimming; would have preferred myths rather than Robbins saying it was all basically nothing, only as powerful and hierarchical as Yale itself, and that that was also decreasing. Again, wish it had been much more contemporarily focused but then again it was also published in like 2001, so no chance of getting the last 18 years here anyway...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah - All The Book Blog Names Are Taken

    Interesting that, while also belonging to a secret society herself - which she casually mentions well into the book unless I missed it earlier - Robbins set out to bring down the mystique of exposing Skull and Bones. Basically, everything you think is probably true about Old Money and the Ivies is actually true and nothing here is terribly shocking. Big surprise, a club that only picks 15 members a year has produced three US presidents - Taft, Bush, and W.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Don't get me wrong, it was interesting to learn so much in depth information about Skull and Bones, it was the delivery. I have read another Alexandra Robbins book, about sororities, and in comparison, this was a mish mash of smaller chunks that didn't always fit together. It was like several smaller articles got printed into book format without much thought to potential overlap, etc. And the last section about Network was too Bush heavy for my taste.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Interesting look at college life, and its ties with trends like reading and debating societies.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Robbins does a good job uncovering the history of Yale's secret society. I will give this book a 2.5 stars as it is relatively dull but with a great ending. Apparently, Yale from its founders started out as a college steeped in parochial traditions. Like other institution, in which parochial institutions predominate, a social caste system grew up out of the college. The social caste system includes enforcement of the social caste through hazing. Once the college finally grew up and became more g Robbins does a good job uncovering the history of Yale's secret society. I will give this book a 2.5 stars as it is relatively dull but with a great ending. Apparently, Yale from its founders started out as a college steeped in parochial traditions. Like other institution, in which parochial institutions predominate, a social caste system grew up out of the college. The social caste system includes enforcement of the social caste through hazing. Once the college finally grew up and became more global in reach, they shunned underclassman hazing as remnant of the past. In order to keep Yale tradition going, members of the prominent social caste created secret society for a sense of belonging with an air of exclusivity in order to separate itself from the general population. I think that secret societies are better are more important to its members than society at large. Unless you are an undergraduate or recent graduate of Yale I fail to see how Skull&Bones would be of any interest to a person. Skull and Bones is a response to the unfair practices of Phi Beta Kappa and was originally a chapter of German Origin. The image of death is prominent symbolism in skull and bones to remind its members that life is finite and thus one has to accomplish what was sent here to do now. Deer island is really an actual retreat for Skull&Bones members in the Great Lakes area. But unlike the sensationalist Bones movie, has more of a camping ground atmosphere rather than an elite resort feel to it. In the end, it is the exclusivity of the secret society that makes it irresistible prize for those who want in. I think just like any group especially one in which exclusivity is paramount, networking is key in which members help each other succeed. The ridiculous traditions, such as stealing in order to have more trophies to the goddess Eulogia, that Skull and Bones has serves as a way to unite the various members of the club. Tradition includes: 1)debates of the topic of the day be it a national, international, local, or chapter phenomenon 2)autobiographical and sexual histories. Given that their is group sharing and regard to total honesty, I can see why older members want to keep it solely a single sex club because having members of the opposite sex would definitely alter how honest a person is. But having said this for Skull and Bones to be relevant in the future, they had to alter its membership to account for diversity in an apparent nod that the future power brokers will not all be WASPs. Skull and Bones are the popular jocks, Bones and Keys are the congenial well-rounded achievers, and Wolf Head's are the gregarious prep boys. I think it is better for a secret society members to keep the society secret. Skull and Bones, unlike Skull and Keys, exists for networking purposes to further the careers of its members in society at large. Whereas Skull and Keys has a philanthropic component, Skull and Bones is solely there to promote its own network in helping the network become successful and be global movers and shakers. Bush, Taft, and Simpson are the Skull & Bones people who made use of the network extensively. Even though Bush Sr. was better at using the network, Bush jr. used it too in making it through his successes in life. I personally do not think it is wrong to use a network that you have acquired through your life. I think Bushes were lucky to be born in an already made network that has helped them throughout their lives. Apparently, Skull&Bones people are prominent in foreign affairs policy circle be it Bush Sr. or Simpson (Secretary of Defense during FDR and Taft administration). Secrecy is the necessary ingredient that binds the bearers of the secret and causes a sense of loyalty and perhaps elitism for being chosen. I think the genius of these secret societies is that they tap their subjects in their senior year instead of their freshman. Because by their senior year, these people would have become leaders with their own friends by their own effort. So, the society would be a society of leaders bound together by a secret institution instead of being brainwashed into an institution and being forced to be friends with people you would not like to be with. I like how Robbins ends the book in which she states the strength of the aura of Skull&Bones comes with the public complicity to give it mythic status.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I don’t know that this qualifies as an exposé; certainly this isn’t really a revelation of the “truth” as stated in the book description above. In my mind this is more an historical positioning of the famous club within the context of Yale’s sometimes peculiar institutional/social fabric (at least a century-plus back) coupled with various external materializations over the years – “the hidden paths of power” part. In that regard I believe this to be a well-rounded book that justifies what some h I don’t know that this qualifies as an exposé; certainly this isn’t really a revelation of the “truth” as stated in the book description above. In my mind this is more an historical positioning of the famous club within the context of Yale’s sometimes peculiar institutional/social fabric (at least a century-plus back) coupled with various external materializations over the years – “the hidden paths of power” part. In that regard I believe this to be a well-rounded book that justifies what some have felt to be the too extensive introductory coverage school’s literary clubs, fight songs, three-rail fence, and so forth. Therefore the primary question I would pose is whether such an objective and considerate historical account of something that might alternately be thought of as “mysterious” and “goofy” is the right approach. If part of the speculation is that the sundry myths of the Tomb were invented and perpetuated by “Saints” and “Patriarchs” themselves over the centuries as a red herring for whatever the Hell it is that actually occupies and takes place within the structure, then certainly quotes from anonymous inside sources may be questionable. Of course most of the Bonesmen statements fail to illuminate much at all and are often uninteresting on their own, so they seem to merely serve as fillers within Robbins’s larger narrative. The “Network” portion, where the author weaves together the Bush and Taft tapestries of Patriarchs fundraising and subsequently being plugged into pivotal international roles – not to mention other Bone-heavy groupings such as the World War II atomic bomb committee, the CIA, and a handful of gargantuan banks and investment firms - might hold some shock value. I guess my assumption is that most upper level, powerful entities are littered with persons from one school or society so I imagine with any Presidential administration, or corporation circa 1950 one could construct a similar list revolving around Porcelain Club members, or Orthogonians, or whomever. Perhaps I’m wrong about this and I certainly can’t fault Robbins for playing this as straight as possible. I’ve yet to see it but I would guess the film The Skulls is a bit cavalier in portraying the 322ers. I personally had no preconceptions with this book. I was in a fit of procrastination, saw it on a library shelf, judged the relative thickness, looked for the author’s credentials and saw a photo of a hot chick. So, typically, my feedback is useless. I will say I appreciated the underlying theme that this group is only a mystery as a particular, localized, hand-me-down construct initiated by bored-yet-competitive teenagers in an era before athletics, females, Facebook, and other such distractions began to infiltrate the campus. My favorite quote (which I’m heavily paraphrasing as I’m too lazy to look it up) was from a critic 100 years or so back who pointed out that the problem with the secret societies was the fact that they were not completely secret. For, if no one knew about them they would obviously have no negative ramifications upon their excluded colleagues. This history, then, is about various compromises within a strict framework. They have to be cryptically secret but only so far as outsiders (“Barbarians”) will still know about, respect, and/or vilify them; the group represents a long legacy of elite WASP gentlemen and now taps a melting pot of ethnic and gender diversity to mirror the campus at large. Throw in what may or may not be part of the initiation rites and the Mormon-like appellations and it’s all pretty comical…but what the Hell?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Jones

    When I got this book, I thought the book would be more about the conspiracy theories surrounding this secret society. The book did touch upon these in the intro, some of which were pretty absurd that people would even think to be true! So, after reading those, I was glad for the depth, care, and detail the author went into about the truth behind the society. I really enjoyed the chapter about the birth of secret societies at Yale, tradition there, and other societies that have shone and faded in When I got this book, I thought the book would be more about the conspiracy theories surrounding this secret society. The book did touch upon these in the intro, some of which were pretty absurd that people would even think to be true! So, after reading those, I was glad for the depth, care, and detail the author went into about the truth behind the society. I really enjoyed the chapter about the birth of secret societies at Yale, tradition there, and other societies that have shone and faded into history. I never knew about these, or even that much about Skull and Bones. So I really appreciated all the research and work the author put into this work. Also, the fact that the author had many quotes from people and members helped her immensely to make a point, as well as interested me further. I was least interested in the network chapter, but it does make you realize that people with power help each other pull strings in society, whether for a good or bad cause. I enjoyed learning all the author had to share- and basically- what makes us intrigued with S&D is the mystery and secrets surrounding it. Really, from the author's writings, you realize that sometimes what's imagined is really more exciting than reality.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    Robbins' account of Skull and Bones is less sensationalist exposé than it is historical contextualization of the Bonesmen. Her account thoroughly extrapolates the history of Yale, the establishment of the secret societies, and the beginning of S&B, before outlining the much more interesting facts about the society's practices, including the rooms in the building, the initiation, and the network of its alumni. Robbins reasonably spends much of her effort in grounding her research in oppositio Robbins' account of Skull and Bones is less sensationalist exposé than it is historical contextualization of the Bonesmen. Her account thoroughly extrapolates the history of Yale, the establishment of the secret societies, and the beginning of S&B, before outlining the much more interesting facts about the society's practices, including the rooms in the building, the initiation, and the network of its alumni. Robbins reasonably spends much of her effort in grounding her research in opposition to all of the rumours that about about the organization, though it makes her findings somewhat anti-climactic. Despite all of the rumours that swirl about the organization, it really comes down to being an old boy's club, and that some of the members of the club take more interest in cultivating those connections for their personal benefit. Robbins' work is exhaustive, which is both to the benefit of the argument and the detriment of the reader, since it becomes tedious at times. It's an interesting enough read, but I probably won't read it again.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Art

    A rare peak inside Yale University’s secret senior society known as Skull & Bones. This small society has produced a great number of powerful and successful people, including several past U.S. Presidents. Some famous members include William F. Buckley, Jr., David McCullough, John Kerry, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Paul Giamatti, and William Howard Taft. Although some have argued the society is a breeding ground for an international cabal with designs on using the international system t A rare peak inside Yale University’s secret senior society known as Skull & Bones. This small society has produced a great number of powerful and successful people, including several past U.S. Presidents. Some famous members include William F. Buckley, Jr., David McCullough, John Kerry, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Paul Giamatti, and William Howard Taft. Although some have argued the society is a breeding ground for an international cabal with designs on using the international system to make money and create a world government, this author reveals an organization less sinister. Like many masonically inspired organizations, the group uses smoke and mirrors to protect its secrets. Members do, if they choose, develop an extensive, powerful network of friends to help them along through life. Those looking for a more sinister explanation of the group, see Antony Sutton’s America’s Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull & Bones.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    I approached this book with having been warned that it wasn't the greatest book of all time. However, I was pleasantly surprised. 'Secrets' is well written and informative. I generally thought it was a fun read and I learned plenty. A main complaint of others is that she goes far into the history of Yale itself, but this was one of my favorite sections. The only part that I felt was a bit much was when she discussed the connections that's Bones opened up and who is in those networks.< I approached this book with having been warned that it wasn't the greatest book of all time. However, I was pleasantly surprised. 'Secrets' is well written and informative. I generally thought it was a fun read and I learned plenty. A main complaint of others is that she goes far into the history of Yale itself, but this was one of my favorite sections. The only part that I felt was a bit much was when she discussed the connections that's Bones opened up and who is in those networks. At times it seems that the author is simply quoting Bonesmen just to show that she can gets a quote from them. There are also moments where the history is so exhaustive that it becomes slightly painful to read. In the end I would definitely recommended it if you have any interest in Skull and Bones or the Senior Society system.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    This is a book about Yale's Skull and Bones Society. Subtitled The Ivy League and the Hidden Paths of Power. This book delves inside some of the mysteries of the Skull and Bones Society, the building called the Tomb, where they hold their secretive meetings and their bizarre rituals. Where a Yale degree, power and money is all you need to join, besides total devotion to the society. How George W Bush got in ( a family affair ), his secret name is "Temporary". Many of the Neocons are also Skull a This is a book about Yale's Skull and Bones Society. Subtitled The Ivy League and the Hidden Paths of Power. This book delves inside some of the mysteries of the Skull and Bones Society, the building called the Tomb, where they hold their secretive meetings and their bizarre rituals. Where a Yale degree, power and money is all you need to join, besides total devotion to the society. How George W Bush got in ( a family affair ), his secret name is "Temporary". Many of the Neocons are also Skull and Bonesmen. This book is not a page turner, but very interesting when it comes to the Bushes and the bizarre rituals of admittance. Truth, morals, righteousness, need not apply.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jhef

    Written by a fellow secret society member, this book was amazingly disappointing. Extremely boring at times, this book says very little while saying quite a bit. I learned next to nothing about Skull & Bones from this book, other than its history, members, and things like 'tap day', and the existence of their island. No REAL secrets are revealed in this book, in fact it does its best to dispell all of the rumors you come across out there. In fact, the author makes the case that the secret fr Written by a fellow secret society member, this book was amazingly disappointing. Extremely boring at times, this book says very little while saying quite a bit. I learned next to nothing about Skull & Bones from this book, other than its history, members, and things like 'tap day', and the existence of their island. No REAL secrets are revealed in this book, in fact it does its best to dispell all of the rumors you come across out there. In fact, the author makes the case that the secret fraternity itself propagated the rumors out there, even the video of the initiation ritual... claiming this was done on purpose to mess with people. I doubt it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mo

    So boring I couldn't finish it. Saw tidbits and the author on tv, thought that it would be fun. So wrong.... It's a history of Yale's Skull and Bones. History includes things like: -how much ice cream costs at a party -how juniors have been 'tapped' for the society... since it's inception... -a detailed account of what the 'tomb' looks like (spoiler, it's a cheap frat house) ... and a multitude of other incidentals. Which is why I skimmed most of it, and then just gave up 40 pages So boring I couldn't finish it. Saw tidbits and the author on tv, thought that it would be fun. So wrong.... It's a history of Yale's Skull and Bones. History includes things like: -how much ice cream costs at a party -how juniors have been 'tapped' for the society... since it's inception... -a detailed account of what the 'tomb' looks like (spoiler, it's a cheap frat house) ... and a multitude of other incidentals. Which is why I skimmed most of it, and then just gave up 40 pages from the end. Feels like the author did a lot of research and when she came up with nothing interesting she decided to throw it all into a book because, well, she spent a lot of time on it so why not?

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brandonne

    This peculiar book reads a bit like a senior thesis. Ms. Robbins writes either without confidence or imagination, and although the information given is presented factually, I wasn't convinced of its total accuracy. For example, Robbins writes, "The influence of the cabal begins at Yale, where Skull and Bones has appropriated university funds for its own use, leaving the school virtually impoverished." She does not list a source, not even a secrecy-shrouded "well-placed source inside the universi This peculiar book reads a bit like a senior thesis. Ms. Robbins writes either without confidence or imagination, and although the information given is presented factually, I wasn't convinced of its total accuracy. For example, Robbins writes, "The influence of the cabal begins at Yale, where Skull and Bones has appropriated university funds for its own use, leaving the school virtually impoverished." She does not list a source, not even a secrecy-shrouded "well-placed source inside the university," and doesn't give a dollar amount supposedly "appropriated" by the society. The stories themselves are interesting, but the book lacks credibility.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stef

    This is very thorough and well-researched. The author had a lot of sources going all the way back through the history of Yale and its Skull and Bones, even in the last 1700's and early 1800's. I confess, though, I wanted more of a spooky conspiracy theory story -- more of a "This secret society is ruling the world, mwah hah hah!" Instead it's just a well-documented history of a group very much like a fraternity that's really good at networking and has as its alums a significant percentage of thi This is very thorough and well-researched. The author had a lot of sources going all the way back through the history of Yale and its Skull and Bones, even in the last 1700's and early 1800's. I confess, though, I wanted more of a spooky conspiracy theory story -- more of a "This secret society is ruling the world, mwah hah hah!" Instead it's just a well-documented history of a group very much like a fraternity that's really good at networking and has as its alums a significant percentage of this country's political, media, and corporate elite. Ho-hum.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    I checked this item out at the library. No money wasted, but I should have read the reviews before committing hours to the book that never got off the ground. Like other reviews stated, I was hooked at the opening scene. It was written like a suspense novel. I settled in with anticipation. Quickly the tone changed and never returned. The review "Mostly filler, with little interesting content," is a perfect review for this book. The book deserves one more star though. Content aside, the writing w I checked this item out at the library. No money wasted, but I should have read the reviews before committing hours to the book that never got off the ground. Like other reviews stated, I was hooked at the opening scene. It was written like a suspense novel. I settled in with anticipation. Quickly the tone changed and never returned. The review "Mostly filler, with little interesting content," is a perfect review for this book. The book deserves one more star though. Content aside, the writing was error free and held my attention while I waited for the pow that never came.

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