Few secret organizations have had as much impact upon American history and politics in the past half century or more than Skull & Bones, Yale University's hush-hush club that was, until quite recently, all male. Recent Yale grad Alexandra Robbins aims to change all that when she publishes Secrets of the Tomb: How a Small College Club Became America's Most Notorious Secret, which Little, Brown senior editor Geoff Shandler, also a Yalie (though not a member), has just bought from agent Paula Balzer at Sarah Lazin Books. He bought world rights, beating out several other interested parties with what Balzer called his understanding of the book and his plans for it. Robbins, who is only 24, works in the New Yorker's Washington office and has already done one book (Quarter-Life Crisis, due from Putnam/Tarcher in May), became interested in the subject when she wrote a big piece about George W. Bush's relationship to the society for Atlantic Monthly last spring and uncovered a number of sources willing to talk about the group. Skull & Bones has been instrumental in fomenting many significant Washington relationships, was allegedly the basis of the early CIA, and its network of contacts is deeply woven into American life.
Volume 248 Issue 11 03/12/2001