Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power

Secrets of the Tomb Skull and Bones the Ivy League and the Hidden Paths of Power This is the only expos of one of the world s most secretive and feared organizations Yale University s nearly year old secret society Skull and Bones Through society documents and interviews with

This is the only expos of one of the world s most secretive and feared organizations Yale University s nearly 200 year old secret society, Skull and Bones Through society documents and interviews with dozens of members, Robbins explains why this old boy product of another time still thrives today.

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    Alexandra Robbins
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    Posted by:Alexandra Robbins
    Published :2018-03-23T19:41:36+00:00

One thought on “Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power

  1. 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 Yale only became coed in the 60 [...]

  2. 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 [...]

  3. 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 [...]

  4. 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 [...]

  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 [...]

  6. 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 [...]

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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 again and again, [...]

  11. Sarah -

    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.

  12. Patrick

    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 [...]

  13. 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 just [...]

  14. 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 [...]

  15. 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 oppositi [...]

  16. 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 [...]

  17. 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.At times it s [...]

  18. 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 [...]

  19. 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 [...]

  20. 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 from the end. Feels like the [...]

  21. 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 [...]

  22. Kirsten

    An interesting one to read after Goat. This book purports to tell the truth as to what really goes on behind the locked doors of the Skull & Bones Society's Tomb. The answer? Not a hell of a lot. Almost all the conspiracy theories are false. In truth, membership in the Gones doesn't entitle you to riches, just a lot of connections. Robbins' description of society life in general and tradition-bound life at Yale is really interesting, but the book overall was kind of, well, boring. I guess I [...]

  23. 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 [...]

  24. 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 [...]

  25. Patrick

    A book to skip around in, but certainly an interesting look at Skull and Bones. Robbins' history of Yale seems well researched, but I doubt some of her Skull and Bones sources, especially since they are all unnamed. Secret Societies: Inside the World's Most Notorious Organizations by John Lawrence Reynolds also gives a good overview of Skull and Bones and touches on a few things that Robbins missed.

  26. Allison

    An unusual history, with a gossipy, Vanity Fair-esque tone. With much about Skull and Bones being truly odd or sensational, I found this book most compelling when it discussed with frankness why members might be willing to participate. The final chapter is the strongest, containing ideas that are common to many voluntary associations of this type. Skull and Bones, like other secret societies, exists in a paradoxical situation of needing to maintain its reputation while also remaining secret.

  27. Lori

    I can't really rate this book in all fairness because I couldn't get through it. I ended up skimming alot. Very long winded and I found myself drifting everytime I picked it up. Finally had to pass it on. The parts I did read were interesting in the way of who was a member of Skull and Bones and what positions were acquired later in life. Alot of myths debunked.

  28. Jennifer Larson

    I always enjoy Alexandra Robbins' books, but this one was not quite as compelling as her others (notably The Overachievers and Pledged). That was mainly due to the lack of one overarching narrative or cast of main characters. It was still a fascinating read, and worth a look, but it just didn't get me as emotionally invested as some of her other work. Still, very interesting.

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