“The Freemasons” by Jasper Ridley
What did Mozart and Bach, Oscar Wilde and Anthony Trollope, George Washington and Frederick the Great, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt have in common? They were all Freemasons, 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.
Though not a mason himself, Jasper Ridley 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. In this much-needed reassessment, he offers a substantial work of history that sifts the truth from the myth as it traces Freemasonry from its origins to the present day.
“The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland’s Century, 1590–1710” by David Stevenson
This book is a new edition of David Stevenson’s classic account of the origins of Freemasonry, a brotherhood of men bound together by secret initiatives, rituals and modes of identification with ideals of fraternity, equality, toleration and reason. Beginning in Britain, Freemasonry swept across Europe in the mid-eighteenth century in astonishing fashion–yet its origins are still hotly debated today. The prevailing assumption has been that it emerged in England around 1700, but David Stevenson demonstrates that the real origins of modern Freemasonry lie in Scotland around 1600, when the system of lodges was created by stonemasons with rituals and secrets blending medieval mythology with Renaissance and seventeenth-century history. This fascinating work of historical detection will be essential reading for anyone interested in Renaissance and seventeenth-century history, for freemasons themselves, and for those readers captivated by the secret societies at the heart of the bestselling The Da Vinci Code. David Stevenson is Emeritus Professor of Scottish History at the University of St. Andrews. His many previous publications include The Scottish Revolution, 1637-1644; Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Scotland, 1644-1651; and The First Freemasons; Scotland, Early Lodges and their Members. His most recent book is the The Hunt for Rob Roy (2004). Previous edition Hb (1988) 0-521-35326-2 Previous edition Pb (1990) 0-521-39654-9
“The Better Angels of Our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War” by Michael Halleran
The first in-depth study of the Freemasons during the Civil War
One of the enduring yet little examined themes in Civil War lore is the widespread belief that on the field of battle and afterward, members of Masonic lodges would give aid and comfort to wounded or captured enemy Masons, often at great personal sacrifice and danger. This work is a deeply researched examination of the recorded, practical effects of Freemasonry among Civil War participants on both sides.
From first-person accounts culled from regimental histories, diaries, and letters, Michael A. Halleran has constructed an overview of 19th-century American freemasonry in general and Masonry in the armies of both North and South in particular, and provided telling examples of how Masonic brotherhood worked in practice. Halleran details the response of the fraternity to the crisis of secession and war, and examines acts of assistance to enemies on the battlefield and in POW camps.
The author examines carefully the major Masonic stories from the Civil War, in particular the myth that Confederate Lewis A. Armistead made the Masonic sign of distress as he lay dying at the high-water mark of Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg.
The English Masonic Union of 1813
The bringing together of the Antients and Moderns to form the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813 was a tricky matter. How all this came about is not just an English tale but an Irish and Scots one as well. Complexities concerning ‘union’ included what to do about other masonic orders, especially the Royal Arch and the Knights Templar. For the first time ever this account provides a birds-eye view of the issues and personalities behind one of the big events of masonic history still affecting us today. “In this pioneering and stimulating book, John Belton tells with verve and enthusiasm the story behind the events which led up to the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813. Providing completely new perspectives on this key event in the history of British Freemasonry, John’s book will be of interest not only to freemasons but to all those who are interested in the contribution of Freemasonry to British culture and society.” – Prof Andrew Prescott, Kings College London
“William Hogarth: A Freemason’s Harlot” By Jeremy John Bell
William Hogarth, England’s most famous artist, was one of the first Freemasons to receive the Third Degree from the newly created Grand Lodge of England. Curiously, he hid all the signs, passwords and secret ‘knocks of recognition’ within his most popular artwork. Concealed so brilliantly within his paintings, they have not been seen for nearly three centuries. Hogarth also hid several details that slandered the ‘Father of Freemasonry’, Jean Desaguliers. The artist featured the third 3rd Grand Master covered in wax, dressed in drag, and ‘catching a fart’. Other curious details that have confused commentators for centuries can now be finally explained by their Masonic connection: Masturbating Kings, Ejaculating Ministers, Orgasmic Curtains and a Stabbed Chicken. However, the most shocking discovery is that Hogarth exposed a Earl and a Viscount as homosexuals, using graphic details within his most popular paintings. He did this in order to defend his Grand Lodge against a rival faction of Jacobite Freemasons. Over 300 illustrations explain this fascinating story of how Hogarth was commissioned by the Premier Grand Lodge to ensure its very survival. It will be of great interest in this, the Tercentenary of the inception of Modern Freemasonry. William Hogarth – A Freemason’s Harlot – with a foreword by Professor Sean Shesgreen author of Complete Engravings, (Dover Fine Art, 1973), Hogarth Times of Day, (Cornell, 1983). Available at brotherhogarth.com – Jeremy Bell has written articles on Freemasonry for the British Art Journal and articles on art for the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
“Measured Expectations” by Michael R. Poll
Named Grand Lodge of Illinois “Book of the Year” for 2018! This down to Earth book by Michael R. Poll provides suggestions and advice on dealing with Lodge and Scottish Rite issues such as Masonic law, Lodge operation, visitors, poor degrees, meals, officer roles, poor attendance, Masonic philosophy & history, the future of Freemasonry, and so much more. Written in an easy to read style with the goal of providing the new or seasoned Mason with useful information to help make their Lodge experience of greater value.
“The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet”
From the very first Kabbalistic work, through the Talmud, through an impressive array of rabbinic literature, great minds have found the Aleph-Beis to be a gold mine of wisdom and guidance. This fascinating best-seller weaves these golden threads into a glorious tapestry, presenting hundreds of ideas and comments on the Aleph-Beis, including: the Aleph-Beis as the force of Creation, as a primer for Jewish living, and as a fountainhead of Torah insight and mystical meaning. The product of decades of learning, thinking, and teaching by the revered educator, lecturer, and community activist Rabbi Michael L. Munk. A treat not to be missed.
“Haunted Chambers: The Lives of Early Women Freemasons” By Karen Kidd
These women aren’t supposed to have existed. But they did. “Haunted Chambers”, for the first time ever, presents not only the most complete list of early women Freemasons but also as much detail about their lives as can still be found. Here are their stories, long suppressed, ignored and marginalized. They include medieval women stone cutters; so-called “adoptive” women Freemasons; an aristocrat; a countess; an early New Brunswick settler; a war hero; a writer of women’s rights; an immigrant Irish girl; the famed sculptress of Abraham Lincoln’s statue in the US Capitol Rotunda and many whose names are now lost. Some will find this book a challenge. Some would rather it never had been written, let alone published. “Haunted Chambers” is highly recommended to anyone who wants the actual history of these early women Freemasons and aren’t afraid to read it.
“Tell me more about the Mark Degree” by Revd Neville Barker Cryer
Ten five-minute talks to be performed in a Mark Lodge or just to read at home. Including : About the Mark Man and Mark Master, About the Mark, The true meaning oft he Key Stone and the Cornerstone. Discover the symbolism behind The Mark Tracing Board and much much more.