The Secret History of the World by Mark Booth, from Overlook Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
At times derisory and ridiculous, at times cloyingly panderingly truthy, but, as Booth asks the reader in the introduction to approach this text “as an imaginative exercise,” this is a pretty much an amusing guilty pleasure summer read. At least it isn’t as abysmal as LIFE The Hidden World of Secret Societies, right? This made the New York Times Bestseller list, so as a sort of widely exposed, soft introduction for the novice, this might, maybe, be a book that could spark some conversations, and lead the reader to more serious material. This is from the same publisher behind The Book of English Magic, which I reviewed a while ago, and it occurs to me the latter could follow the former in a series for the YA or non-academic reader interested in such things.
“They say that history is written by the victors. But what if history—or what we come to know as history—has been written by the wrong people? What if everything we’ve been told is only part of the story?
In this groundbreaking and now famous work, Mark Booth embarks on an enthralling tour of our world’s secret histories. Starting from a dangerous premise—that everything we’ve known about our world’s past is corrupted, and that the stories put forward by the various cults and mystery schools throughout history are true-Booth produces nothing short of an alternate history of the past 3,000 years.
From Greek and Egyptian mythology to Jewish folklore, from Christian cults to Freemasons, from Charlemagne to Don Quixote, from George Washington to Hitler—Booth shows that history needs a revolutionary rethink, and he has 3,000 years of hidden wisdom to back it up.”
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