"Secret societies have fundamentally shaped America's cultural and political landscapes. In ways that are expected but never explicit, the bonds made and lessons learned through the most elite of secret societies have helped make their members senators, governors, ambassadors, CIA directors, Supreme Court justices, and even presidents. At the apex of these institutions stands Yale University and its ancient six secret societies, with their modern--and even more private--"underground" rivals. Tracing a history that has intrigued and enthralled for centuries, winning the attention of such writers as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Skulls and Keys recounts the founding and growth of Yale's storied societies as they set the courses for self-education, ambition, and assimilation that have served to define our modern age."--Jacket flap.