Secrets of the Tomb
Alexandra Robbins
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Buy *Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power* online

Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power
Alexandra Robbins
Little, Brown
240 pages
September 2002
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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In Secrets of the Tomb, the 200-year-old Yale University society Skull and Bones is examined more thoroughly than ever before by the respected journalist Alexandra Robbins. Managing to access zealously guarded secret papers, she attempts to pull aside the veil of secrecy that has hidden the über-clique since its inception in the 1800’s. Her quotes from interviews with current and former members and club documents are titillating even when they describe the mundane details of Skull and Bones life.

Membership in this infamous club boasts three United States presidents, including George Herbert Walker Bush and George W. Bush. There are some tantalizing tidbits sprinkled within the book about the current Bush president. Those two names come as no surprise to those who are even mildly acquainted with Bones history. Hundreds of other “Bonesmen” names appear for the first time in this book. Politicians and business bigwigs pepper the list.

Unfortunately, because of the ultra secrecy of the organization, there are no interviewee names nor any document copies. If made by someone of a lesser reputation, these assertions might be dismissed, but Robbins makes the statements plausible. That's due in part to her specific detail, including dates and names of former members, and partly because of her track record as a dependable journalist who has been on staff at the New Yorker and written for other magazines such as Atlantic Monthly. Interestingly, Robbins is also a Yale graduate.

Secrets of the Tomb provides an unprecedented and chilling glimpse into a little-known world where the privileged few mold and shape American history without the input of average Americans, for to become a “Bonesman,” one must be born with a certain pedigree and from this particular pool. Only a handful are deemed worthy to be initiated every year.

© 2003 by Camden Alexander for Curled Up With a Good Book

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