The Craft: How the Freemasons Made the Modern World
A group of individuals gathering in lodges or clubs with mysterious rituals arouse suspicion in Europe. A remnant of the Inquisition remains in Europe, which views groups such as the Freemasons as heretics. A member of the group, John Coustos, allegedly reveals all to his interrogators after threats of torture. The alleged members of the Freemasons compose a hodgepodge of elite and powerful, mixed with members of lower levels of society. The Freemasons emerged in Scotland mainly as craft guilds. The membership and the inherent secrecy evolved as Freemasonry traveled to London. The prevalence of Freemasonry varied with the winds of change in politics, from key positions to convenient scapegoats. The Founding Fathers of the United States, including Ben Franklin and George Washington, were enthusiastic members and proponents. The group faced scrutiny for its doublespeak and hypocrisy on inclusiveness and viewed with skepticism as certain Freemasons surfaced around infamous events, such as Licio Gelli and P2 in Italy. Freemasonry has dwindled in membership but is still around and important to its diehard members.
The Craft is a thorough and probing view of the storied and perplexing Freemasons. Author John Dickie does an admirable job of tracking the evolution of Freemasonry throughout six centuries. Those seeking confirmation of Freemasons’ involvement in cabals may be disappointed, as Dickie remains agnostic on their role in conspiracies. However, this is not a deterrent to an overall excellent book.
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