Book: The Freemasons

The Freemasons

Accidental trade union turned culty turned unpopular.
340 pages, ★★★

Freemasonry emerged by accident. Rough-masons worked rough (harder) stone, while free-masons worked free (softer) stone. Often commissioned by monarchs, Freemasons worked harder and earned more money than non-freemasons, and since they worked for many years, exclusively for the monarch, they became a very closely-knit group.

Freemasonry later developed into the élite fraternity. Many great explorers and tycoons were Freemasons. Now, however, Freemasonry is in decline, and is even greeted with suspicion and ridicule by non-members.

This book discusses some famous members. We learn about John Wilkes, William Dodd and Louis d’Éon, none of whose stories would be at all interesting if they weren’t Freemasons. Their stories are not scandalous—and sometimes not even interesting—despite this book describing them as such. This book dispels the myths surrounding Freemasonry by proving that they’re actually incredibly boring cult.

Freemasonry was never as intimidating as its reputation would suggest. In fact, the descriptions in this book rank it level with Cambridge University in terms of exclusivity and eccentricity (two defining aspects of a cult).

I don’t recommend reading this book. It was less informative than Cults (see my review here), and more of a chore, too. All this book taught me is that Freemasonry is incredibly dull—a fact so surprising that I award this book very generously with three stars. ★★★

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