Friday, February 13, 2015

Review: Members Only: Secret Societies, Sects, and Cults Exposed! by Julie Tibbott


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Clubs aren't just for kids anymore. Since the earliest days of human culture, people have banded together to pass on traditions, climb up the social ladder, and sometimes just avoid being excluded themselves. Some of today's groups have been around for centuries and others have developed in just the past few decades. But members of these clubs walk, talk, and live all around us; we just don't always know it. Members Only provides a glimpse into the underground cults people love, fear, and cannot resist. Delving into different groups like Opus Dei, the Freemasons, and the Skull and Bones, the book uncovers the how, what, when, where, and why of these mysterious groups. Members Only reveals the shared beliefs and actions of these organizations so that we, too, can access secret worlds we didn't even know were there.
MY TAKE:
I thought this book would be fascinating, and it definitely did not disappoint.

In Members Only: Secret Societies, Sects, and Cults Exposed!, readers learn more about different secret societies and cults. The book also includes additional material like interviews with a few members of some of the societies.

As you would expect, this book was chockful of information. There were some features that condensed a few cults and societies into one essay/article, but for the societies and cults that were focused on, readers got a summary at the top which contained: year founded, status, exclusivity factor, secrecy factor, threat factor, and quirk factor. The bulk of the feature includes information on the group's history and background, membership requirements, and life in the society.

I've heard of most of the groups mentioned, but I did find some groups I've never heard of before. Of the groups I have heard of before, I was still able to learn something new, which was nice.  Of the groups, the one I thought I would be best suited for is the SCA, mostly because I like the Middle Ages.
 
I found the book to be very entertaining. There were occasional jokes and asides that made me think that the author didn't take the material too seriously. That is, the tone was generally respectful and straightforward, but during a few moments wherein the information presented seems strange and ridiculous, the author isn't afraid to make comments that will make you laugh out loud.

The only thing I can think of that would help me enjoy this book more would be the addition of color to the pictures or text. Right now, it's mostly in black and white, except for the cover.

Thanks to NetGalley and Zest Books for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. You'll learn a lot.
  2. It doesn't feel too formal and reference-book-like.
  3. The additional material are fascinating and helpful.

THE BAD:

  1. It would be better if there was just a bit more color. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You think secret societies are interesting.
  2. You like learning new things.
  3. You like nonfiction books that don't feel like a chore to read. 

RATING:
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