"The Illuminati: The Secret Society that Hijacked the World" Book Review
Written by Ron Williams
Published by Visible Ink Press
Written byJim Marrs
2017, 390 pages, Reference
Released on June 13th, 2017
The thing with Jim Marrs is, even if you don’t know who Jim Marrs is, I bet you know his work. A Texan through and through, he spent most of his career as an investigative journalist in the Dallas metro area. As an educator, he taught at the University of Texas Arlington for 30 years. As the author of multiple New York Times Bestsellers, Marrs wrote a book called Crossfire, and that is why you know his work. The class Marrs taught for 30 years at UT Arlington was on the John F. Kennedy assassination, and his book Crossfire was the basis for Oliver Stone’s film, JFK.
Marrs spent years researching the JFK assassination. Being a local, he visited sites and made friendships with people involved – regardless of how small the connection. Marrs interviewed hundreds of people, followed paper trails, recorded everything, and only wrote what was verifiable. No, this review isn’t about Crossfire, or anything else to do with Kennedy. I bring all of that up because in a world where a millionaire could go broke building a library of conspiracy books, Marrs stands out for not only doing his own research, but handing you all of that research during the course of his books. In his books – many of them bestsellers – Marrs straight up tells you, “This is verified. Here is the paper trail”. And if he doesn’t have that, it either gets cut or Marrs will acknowledge it.
The point being, unlike 98% of conspiracy authors, Marrs doesn’t draw connections without that paper trail. Marrs approaches his topics the same as any other academician would, and writes his books using the same journalistic integrity he’s written his award winning articles.
Does that mean he’s always right? Nah. But it means he’s trying. And when you’re in the land of conspiracy theory, hard facts rule the day.
When HorrorTalk asked me to review Marrs’ latest (and as it turns out, last; Marrs passed away while this review was being written) book, I jumped on it. When I received The Illuminati: The Secret Society that Hijacked the World, published by Visible Ink Press, I was curious. Marrs has written a handful of books about secret societies in general, and several more that while not necessarily about them, definitely crossed into that territory. As a casual reader of his work, I felt he’d pretty well covered the whole Illuminati topic fairly well.
As it turns out, I was right. While The Illuminati is well written and has a lot of photos and illustrations that were absent in his other books, there isn’t a lot of new ground being covered here. I don’t know what Marrs did to write The Illuminati, but it feels more like he sat down with some of his books (Rule by Secrecy, The Rise of the Fourth Reich, The Trillion-Dollar Conspiracy, among others) and edited out this book as a sort of ‘Greatest Hits’ of the Illuminati. I have to admit, I was vexed by this at the beginning. But now, after having thought about it, I realize it doesn’t matter. All this means is that this book will likely have a different audience than his previous ones.
If you’re a hardcore Marrs fan, you know this book likely isn’t for you. You may buy it as it’s his last book, and appreciate it for being what it is. If so, I think you’ll like it in that regard. The book, physically, is nice. Many of Marrs’ original books were from mainstream presses and were released in a standard newsprint paperback. While softcover, The Illuminati is thick white paper that holds the graphics and print well, and the oversized format is more like a text book than a standard paperback. But the info inside? You’ve likely already read it multiple times.
But if you’re casually interested in secret societies in general or the Illuminati in particular, I’d recommend this book. The Illuminati is going to answer all of your questions, wait for you to think of new ones, then answer those for you as well. You’re going to be able to shove it under the noses of your Doubting Debbie friends and watch them wail and gnash their teeth as you show them portraits of early Illuminati members and an 11-page reading list that definitely proves your ideas are correct while theirs are wrong. Anyone new to the subject will enjoy this book.
Marrs has a writing style which tends to step you through difficult ideas or processes. He doesn’t want to leave anyone behind, but he doesn’t want to dumb it down either. It’s very easy to follow Marrs’ research as he drags you through what he’s found and the links he’s discovered. Marrs doesn’t write with an agenda, he tries to find the voice of an educator or historian, explaining but not necessarily interpreting. You get to do that for yourself.
While The Illuminati is a rehash of Marrs previous work, if you’re unfamiliar with that previous work, it doesn’t matter. For someone completely new to this subject, I’d give this book a 5-Star rating. If you’re well aware of Marrs and the Illuminati, I’d say skip it unless you’re completing your collection. At best, this is a 3-Star book for you. Nothing new inside, but a nice edition anyways is how I’d describe it for you. Averaging those, I’d want to give the book 4 Stars overall. But I’m not.
I’m giving The Illuminati only 3 Stars, and here’s why: Every Jim Marrs book I’ve read (and admittedly, I haven’t read them all) has copious footnotes presented throughout, linked to a bibliography and listing of sources. When you’re dealing with past events and people who have passed away, that’s nice to have. But when you’re talking about conspiracies and secret societies, it’s 100% necessary if you wish to keep your integrity. The previously mentioned 11-page “Further Reading” section is likely taking the place of the footnotes, but not having direct correlation between information shared and where it came from, it’s just not the same. There is no chain of proof, which is a hallmark of Jim Marrs books. Marrs has always taken great pride in providing the reader with the proof of the truth and how he found it. Without that paper trail, it’s all just a fart in the wind.
Does the lack of documentation warrant a drop of a whole star? I think so. Because without that proof, this book is about the same as every other book on the Illuminati out there. That said, I do recommend The Illuminati: The Secret Society that Hijacked the World. It is well put together and anyone new to the topic who wishes to know more about the world of secret societies will find more here than in most books. The only downsides here are the lack of original information and the non-existent documentation, but a new reader isn’t going to care about that.