The Freemasons : a history of the world's most powerful secret society

by Jasper Godwin Ridley

Hardcover, 2001




New York : Arcade Pub., 2001.


"The Freemasons are a subject of endless fascination. To the layman, they are a mysterious brotherhood of profound if uncertain influence, a secret society purported, in some popular histories, to have its roots in the fabled order of the Knights Templar or in the mysteries of the Egyptian pyramids. They evoke fears of world domination by a select few who enjoy privileged access to wealth and the levers of power. The secrecy of their rites suggests the taint of sacrilege, and their hidden loyalties are sometimes accused of undermining the workings of justice and the integrity of nations." "In this reassessment, Jasper Ridley offers a substantial work of history that sifts the truth from the myth as it traces Freemasonry from its origins to the present day. Ridley recounts the development of Freemasonry from the guilds of freestone masons, the master builders of the Middle Ages, into societies of "gentleman masons" and "speculative masons" in the seventeenth century, culminating in the formation of the Grand Lodge in London in 1717. Delineating the spread of the brotherhood to Europe, the New World, and the East, he weighs the role Freemasonry is supposed to have played in the American Revolution (some of our Founding Fathers were masons, among them George Washington and Benjamin Franklin) as well as those in France, South America, and later Russia. Ridley puts into proper perspective the contributions of "the Craft" to civilization over the centuries. Not a mason himself, he nonetheless refutes many of the outrageous allegations made against Freemasonry, while at the same time acknowledging the masons' shortcomings: their clannishness, misogyny, obsession with secrecy, and devotion to arcane ritual."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (more)

Media reviews
Knjiga Slobodni zidari je više od popularnog štiva o jednoj od najintrigantnijih tema savremenog društva. Zapravo, to je ozbiljna i sveobuhvatna studija, napisana iz pera uglednog britanskog istoričara i biografa. Ne naginjući ni na jednu stranu, niti preterano ističući sopstveni stav i mišljenje, Džasper Ridli, briljantni pisac – istoriograf, otkriva nam svet slobodnih zidara u najvećoj mogućoj meri, onoliko koliko nam dopuštaju oni koji i dalje kroje svetsku istoriju.

User reviews

LibraryThing member literarytech
This was a fascinating book, at least in part because it puts a lens of clarity on a rather interesting topic. The writing is clear and the Ridley spends some energy documenting his statements. The upshot, however, isn't exactly earth-shattering. His contention is actually that the Freemasons are really not anywhere near as interesting as one might have thought from more breathy sources.… (more)
LibraryThing member trudychar
Book told through historical accounts by J.R. It was pretty boring.



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