"The Craft," with an estimated four million Freemasons worldwide, remains the largest fraternal organization in the world. Written by an active Freemason, this book comprehensively explains Freemasonry through its fascinating visual culture, rich in mysterious and arcane symbols of life, death, and morality that have evolved over centuries of secrecy and that have profound philosophical meaning.
Ceremonial regalia, paintings, manuscripts, tracing boards, ritual swords, furniture, prints, ephemera, and architecture: the book is copiously illustrated with many specially researched items from Freemasonry archives. This unrivaled compendium will appeal both to Freemasons wishing to learn the full story of their order and to a general audience that is intensely curious about this traditionally secretive and closed movement.
The coverage includes
- The historical and philosophical background of the order, including the Knights Templar, the medieval stonemasons' guilds, and esoteric traditions such as Kabbalah and Hermeticism
- Its history from the earliest Masons to the present day, including famous members and scandals
- Its geographical spread from Japan to California, Sweden to South Africa