8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fascinating and hugely informative., 29 Mar. 2014
This book is a balanced and well researched history of how secret societies have held on to ancient knowledge through thousands of years of suppression. With the understanding that truth is stranger than fiction, the authors have successfully avoided the worst of conspiracy theory rants and unveiled the hidden struggle to preserve ancient insights entwined in the rich tapestry of major historical events. Journeying from ancient Egypt, through the Renaissance, the revolutions in American and France, into the 20th century, they demonstrate that the forefathers of groups like the Freemasons performed an important function of preserving this ancient knowledge during the dark times of Catholic suppression. They show that through covert affiliations what amounts to a secret religion pervaded the corridors of power and even the church itself, informing policies for centuries and colouring the fabric of the wider society through esoteric symbolism in art and architecture. At over 600 pages the book is packed with fascinating information and many surprising but revealing historical connections. My only criticisms would be that the narrative is thrown off course too often by tangential historical detail which, while showing exemplary research, would be better placed in notes at the end of the book. I would also have liked far more detail about the machinations of secret societies in the modern era. In spite of this Hancock and Bauval are not apologists for the "secret rulers" and they do a fine job of tracing the line of hidden history in as impartial a manner as they can, given that, as the story unfolds, the Roman Catholic church do emerge as the most despotic and contemptible player in the whole affair. A separate bibliography would have been nice, rather than the (thorough) index but, that said, I feel much better informed and enabled to continue searching for myself with this book acting as a light to stop me getting lost down the rabbit hole. Excellent!