The Freemasons: A History of the World's Most Powerful Secret Society

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Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., May 15, 2011 - History - 368 pages
4 Reviews
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.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - literarytech - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

THE FREEMASONS: A History of the World's Most Powerful Secret Society

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A history of Freemasonry through the ages, and an analysis of the secret society's role in the contemporary Western world.The fact that historian Ridley (Bloody Mary's Martyrs, p. 1010, etc.) is ... Read full review

Contents

Loyalist and Revolutionary Freemasons
Napoleon
The Restoration
The Case of William Morgan
The Lautaro Lodge
The Nineteenth Century
The New Assault on Freemasonry
Freemasonry in the World

Wilkes and Liberty
Troubles and Scandals
The American Revolution
The Magic Flute
The French Revolution
Modern Freemasonry in Britain
Modern Freemasonry in the United States
Are the Freemasons a Menace?
Notes and References
Bibliography

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