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What are your favorite books on Freemasonry?

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    Posted: May/09/2013 at 7:24pm
I bought like several books on freemasonry and was actually looking through some of my old books on freemasonry that I didn't have a chance to read.

I think the best book on freemasonry that I have read is the symbolism of Freemasonry by Albert G Mackey.  It is an excellent book
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BigGameJames Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2013 at 7:39pm
Freemasons for dummies is really good.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DoubleHeaded Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2013 at 8:11pm
Originally posted by BigGameJames BigGameJames wrote:

Freemasons for dummies is really good.


I hear that is a good book...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cemab4y Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/10/2013 at 5:45am
I enjoy "A Pilgrim's Path" by John Robinson. I consider it to be one of the best books ever written about Masonry, by a non-Mason. Robinson was interested in Masonry, and he thought that since he was an "outsider", he could write a fair and objective account. He succeeded, his book examines Masonry carefully, and well. He was so impressed with what he found, that he decided to go on and petition Freemasonry.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote coach Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/10/2013 at 7:49am

My Favorite Masonic books are the Building Better Builders series of Uncommon Masonic Education books

 
They have changed my view and experience of Freemasonry.
 
Yes, I am the author.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edwmax Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/10/2013 at 9:11am
Excellent books, I have the first 3 of the Building Better Builders.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tarditi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/10/2013 at 9:13am
Originally posted by coach coach wrote:

My Favorite Masonic books are the Building Better Builders series of Uncommon Masonic Education books

 
They have changed my view and experience of Freemasonry.
 
Yes, I am the author.
 
Coach N

I can vouch for Bro "Coach" and his assessment of his own books. They are amazing. I got the whole set at one of our Grand Lodge Annual Communications - he even signed them for me.

They are deep. They deal with many esoteric and historic aspects of our symbols, ritual and forms, but it a wondrous journey into research and information. 

I highly recommend them for all Master Masons.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GrimoireA3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/10/2013 at 10:02am
Hi Doubleheaded,
 
I am also a 'newbie' and I am not a Mason.  So far I am a Freemason supporter.
 
I just finished Freemasonry for Dummies and I was a bit disappointed.
 
He included a totured explanation regarding the use of the term 'Lucifer' in Freemasonry and a good explanation of the inverted five pointed star.  But strangely he was very much against the following authors on Freemasonry: Albert Mackey, Manley Hall, Arthur Edward Waite, and Albert Pike.  He had nothing good to say about any of these Masonic authors and refuted their works.
 
But Freemasonry for Dummies did not offer any alternative reading material.  Freemasonry for Dummies struck me as ascholarly and superficial, the author just denied everything popularly known about Freemasonry without citing his sources, it was just on his authority alone that some rumor was baseless. For example, he criticized the Baphomet legend and dimissed it, yet no where did he explain the presence of Typhon in Freemasony artisry (please read: THE RELIGION OF MASONRY: An Interpretation (1931) by Joseph Fort Newton and THE ART AND ARCHITECTURE OF FREEMASONRY: An Introductory Study (1991) by James Stevens Curl).
 
I did not like Freemasonry For Dummies, even though I am not a Mason and know nothing about it, just because of its low academic explanation, and because it panned Albert Mackey, Manley Hall, Arthur Edward Waite, and Albert Pike without a good explanation of why, and without providing an alternative selection of authurs.
 
What's your opinion???   Thanks!
Please Note: I am not a Mason.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DoubleHeaded Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/10/2013 at 11:45am
Originally posted by GrimoireA3 GrimoireA3 wrote:

Hi Doubleheaded,
 
I am also a 'newbie' and I am not a Mason.  So far I am a Freemason supporter.
 
I just finished Freemasonry for Dummies and I was a bit disappointed.
 
He included a totured explanation regarding the use of the term 'Lucifer' in Freemasonry and a good explanation of the inverted five pointed star.  But strangely he was very much against the following authors on Freemasonry: Albert Mackey, Manley Hall, Arthur Edward Waite, and Albert Pike.  He had nothing good to say about any of these Masonic authors and refuted their works.
 
But Freemasonry for Dummies did not offer any alternative reading material.  Freemasonry for Dummies struck me as ascholarly and superficial, the author just denied everything popularly known about Freemasonry without citing his sources, it was just on his authority alone that some rumor was baseless. For example, he criticized the Baphomet legend and dimissed it, yet no where did he explain the presence of Typhon in Freemasony artisry (please read: THE RELIGION OF MASONRY: An Interpretation (1931) by Joseph Fort Newton and THE ART AND ARCHITECTURE OF FREEMASONRY: An Introductory Study (1991) by James Stevens Curl).
 
I did not like Freemasonry For Dummies, even though I am not a Mason and know nothing about it, just because of its low academic explanation, and because it panned Albert Mackey, Manley Hall, Arthur Edward Waite, and Albert Pike without a good explanation of why, and without providing an alternative selection of authurs.
 
What's your opinion???   Thanks!


Never read it and to be honest I don't plan on reading it. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mosaic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/10/2013 at 1:10pm
The Newly Made Mason. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cemab4y Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/10/2013 at 4:03pm
I have read both of these books, and I have met Chris Hodapp. The books are meant as an introduction to Freemasonry for the layman. The topic is broad, there have been many hundreds of books written about Freemasonry over the centuries. The two books Dummies/Complete idiot's are a very superficial "skimming" over the surface.

The authors you cite are often used by critics of Freemasonry, and various quotes taken out of context are used to "prove" that Masons are Satanists, devil-worshippers, etc etc etc, ad nauseum.

The fact is that Pike/Wilson/Coil/Mackey/Newton and the long list, are always writing their own opinions , and that none of these men speak for Masonry.

The book "Morals and Dogma" is a case in point. In the introduction page, Pike states quite clearly that he is writing his own opinions, and that the reader is free to agree or disagree with any or all of the text. Notwithstanding this fact, critics of Freemasonry will pull some obscure little passage from this book, and say "See, all Masons are Satanists".

The fact is, that reading a book like "M&D" to learn about modern, 21st century Freemasonry, is like reading "Moby Dick" to learn about the modern whaling industry.

I can assure you of one fact. Masonry invites serious study. We are an "open book", and everything we do, everything we stand for, and the goals we wish to achieve are clearly stated, and out there for all the world to see.

If there is any point you are confused about, or need more clarification, please feel free to post your questions here, and we will make every effort to get you the honest, straightforward answers.

You will never be asked to join. The decision to participate is yours alone.

One book I would encourage you to read, is "A Pilgrim's Path" by Robinson. He was a "supporter" of Freemasonry, and not opposed to the Craft. He decided that as an outsider, he could make an objective study of the Craft, and not be prejudiced one way or another. His book achieved this goal splendidly.

I wish you luck in your quest for light.
Charles E. Martin

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GAmastermason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/10/2013 at 4:42pm
I agree with the above post. I could write a Masonic book myself, but my intrepretation of Masonry and its symbols would be different from the next Mason.
 
Here again Albert Pike's Morals and Dogma only pertains to the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of the Southern Jurisdiction. It does not have anything to do with the 3 degrees of the Blue Lodge.
 
John J. Robinson, if I remember correctly wrote at least one book while he was not a Mason and at some point joined the Fraternity.
 
Manly Hall wrote the Secret Teachings of All Ages and other books dealing with Freemasonry before he even joined the Fraternity. He did eventually join, but I have read through the Secret Teachings of All Ages and most of it is crap.
 
Arthur Waite, I like I have his Encyclopedia on Freemasonry. It seems good. Though there are some things I don't agree with. But he was into all kinds of stuff. He is also one of the inventors of the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck.
 
I read Freemasons For Dummies before I joined and it is a great overview of Masonry as a whole.  Illustrious Brother Hodapp is a very intelligent and well respected researcher, author and lecturer in our fraternity. I would take anything he said over Manly Hall and some others.
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GrimoireA3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/13/2013 at 11:42am
Hi cemab4y,
 
I tend to place myself into the same postition as the author of 'Pilgrim's Path' Mr. John Robinson, a non-Mason doing extensive research in an objective fashion.  I'm just very excited to have discovered, late in life at 56, a whole body of literature and history previously unknown to me.  And I am enjoying every book on Freemasonry I read.  I just had a tour of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts here in Boston at 10:30 am this morning - very impressive.  And they got a library on the 2nd floor OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!  I am like a kid in a candy shop.
 
Again, I am going to remain objective in my search for truth no matter where it takes me (as I was taught in History graduate school, UMASS).
 
But I really did not like FREEMASONY FOR DUMMIES by Mr. Christopher Hodapp (though it had two good explanations).
Please Note: I am not a Mason.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mek42 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/20/2013 at 9:37pm
Does anyone have an opinion of "The Meaning of Masonry" by Wilmshurst?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GrimoireA3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/22/2013 at 10:35am
Hi Mek42,
 
A book that was recommended to me on this forum just happened to mention him.
 
'A PILGRIM'S PATH: Freemasonry and the Religious Right' (1993) by John J. Robinson
 
 
"Walter L. Wilmshurst, an English Mason, was born in 1867.  His book, 'The Meaning of Masonry', is - like many Masonic books - largely an expression of his own personal opinion.  By no means is Wilmshurst 'embraced by Masons' as an authority.  In the course of writing this book, I asked about twenty American Masons, many of whom I considered to be knowledgable, their opinion of the writings of W. L. Wilmshurst.  Without exception, they responded that they had never heard of him."  Page 98.
 
P.S. I am not a Mason.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GrimoireA3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/19/2013 at 10:32am
My study of Freemasonry over the past three months has really educated me in a whole lot of areas outside of the Craft, for example, if it wasn't for the fact that I have been reading every single work on Freemasonry I'm able to absord, I would never have come across this great book:
THE ART OF MEMORY (1966) by Ms. Frances A. Yates, PILMCO edition.
 
A thoroughly impressive piece of literature and I wish I had read it decades ago.
 
Thank you Freemasonry, and all the people on this forum.
Please Note: I am not a Mason.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote log cabin Bill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/19/2013 at 8:37pm
I really enjoyed Wilmshurst's book "The Meaning of Masonry." This is a book that is not for everyone due to his writing style. It has been a little over 90 years since it was first published. The author uses a lot of arcane words and his writing style is very elegant because that was how they wrote and spoke back in the Edwardian era in England. The book is purely his view about Masonry so you may not agree with everything he says. He tends to write in long flowing sentences with some rather flowery and elegant language. If you can get past the writing style it is very interesting and will give you a perspective of Masonry from a long gone era. The book is now in the public domain, so you can read it in its entirety on the internet. Just type in the title of the book and several sites will come up where it is available.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Troberts505 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/20/2013 at 6:56pm
Freemasonry for Dummies is given to every EA at our lodge, It is a great 1st book and a fair overview.
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The Meaning of Masonry by Wilmshurst is an excellent read.  It's somewhat academic and requires more than a cursory examination to get the most from it.  He leans toward the spiritual side of the craft.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CCOV17 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/28/2013 at 12:28pm
Anything by Wilmhurst is great! I love Manly P. Hall and Albert Mackey not sure why that guy doesn't like them they are 2 of the best. Masonic Symbolism by Charles Clyde Hunt is amoung my favorites. I stay away from Pike though, I don't like his assumption that Masonry is of ancient European origin, cause it's not. Some Timothy Hogan is good but I don't like modern Masonic writers like Robert Lomas as I think most are plagiarizers of earlier works when/if ever they hit the nail on the head with some kind of Masonic truth and/or WAY off the mark and chasing red herrings as to the philosophic origin of the Craft I.E. the modern obsession with The Templar's when clearly the structure for Craft Masonry began thousands of years before them. I hate that theres a book called "Masonry for dummies" and I can't stand that it's a go to book for Masons in the 21'st century I've read it, I won't even keep it in the bathroom in case I run out of toilet paper, thats how little I think of that book and the info contained within.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote CanuckMason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/28/2013 at 2:31pm
Originally posted by CCOV17 CCOV17 wrote:

I hate that theres a book called "Masonry for dummies" and I can't stand that it's a go to book for Masons in the 21'st century I've read it, I won't even keep it in the bathroom in case I run out of toilet paper, thats how little I think of that book and the info contained within.


Don't know what your issue with the book is. It's a go to book for a reason: it is well written and accurate.
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Originally posted by BigGameJames BigGameJames wrote:

Freemasons for dummies is really good.


agreed. it does explain a lot in plain simple English. think the author actually wrote it to help dispel the goat myth.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote BroScubaSteve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2013 at 7:13am
Originally posted by CCOV17 CCOV17 wrote:

I hate that theres a book called "Masonry for dummies" and I can't stand that it's a go to book for Masons in the 21'st century I've read it, I won't even keep it in the bathroom in case I run out of toilet paper, thats how little I think of that book and the info contained within.
As a mason, I would not be using this book to learn about my craft. That is what lodge is for and books suitable to be read by a Master Mason. It's like going to the library to check out, "computers for dummies," because your printer wont work. However someone with a degree in computer engineering would probably not use, "computers for dummies," to diagnose a problem.

This book is for the uninitiated who has an interested in Freemasonry. I did not have any family in Masonry to my knowledge. I had one friend who is actually a family friend of my in-laws who is a Mason that I met on a cruise for his daughter's wedding that we were invited to. Asides from what he could tell me I had zero people to draw on and walking into a lodge took 5 years of hard thinking to make the jump to join the fraternity.

Since my raising I have been reading Born in Blood. It is not written by a Freemason but it is a good read. Whether I believe it or not though, it contains ritual from an expose` so I'm reading it with a huge grain of salt. Especially that there is no hard link between the evidence shown in the beginning of the book and what would later unfold to public masonry (as he put it) in 1717.


Edited by BroScubaSteve - July/29/2013 at 7:15am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CCOV17 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2013 at 12:22pm
I agree that Freemasonry for Dummies is definitely intended for non Masons or to be given to someone to read before a 1st Degree if they have zero knowledge of what Masonry is, but I don't necessarily agree that someone like that should be allowed to join a Lodge in that condition. Not saying he's not worthy and won't make a fantastic brother in due time, just that he's not well enough qualified to be duly and truly prepared at that moment.
I'm a big beliver in what Wilmshurst says, that the Ritual is lost upon, and not intended for, the Neophyte that has not come to the portals of Masonry properly prepared and versed in the art of Esoteric Initiation. Meaning Masonry doesn't create nor should it endeavorer to try to create  "Traveling Men", that men should already be learned in the philosophic traditions and practices of the Lesser and Greater Mysteries of antiquity BEFORE not after his first entrance into a Lodge.
I'm also a proponent of the brethren of a Lodge coming up with a lengthy and substantial  pre-Masonic education process before a man can even petition a Lodge for this very reason, consisting of classes like "What is the purpose of Initiation and Ritual" "Basic Numerology and Geometry" "Astrology and the Meaning of Important Stars and Planets" "Dionysus & Demeter: An Introduction into the Greater Mysteries of Greece", ETC.

I'm not trying to start an argument or anything with anyone, just trying to point out that I think alot of people in a lot of Lodges walk away from the 3 Blue Lodge Degrees disappointed, unenlightened, unimpressed and underwhelmed with an experience that's supposed to be instantly life changing, which I blame on a lack of esoteric and Masonic education, if "easy to understand" books like Freemasonry for Dummies were enough people wouldn't feel that way.


Edited by CCOV17 - July/29/2013 at 12:24pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CanuckMason Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2013 at 1:53pm
Originally posted by CCOV17 CCOV17 wrote:


I agree that Freemasonry for Dummies is definitely intended for non Masons or to be given to someone to read before a 1st Degree if they have zero knowledge of what Masonry is, but I don't necessarily agree that someone like that should be allowed to join a Lodge in that condition. Not saying he's not worthy and won't make a fantastic brother in due time, just that he's not well enough qualified to be duly and truly prepared at that moment.
I'm a big beliver in what Wilmshurst says, that the Ritual is lost upon, and not intended for, the Neophyte that has not come to the portals of Masonry properly prepared and versed in the art of Esoteric Initiation. Meaning Masonry doesn't create nor should it endeavorer to try to create  "Traveling Men", that men should already be learned in the philosophic traditions and practices of the Lesser and Greater Mysteries of antiquity BEFORE not after his first entrance into a Lodge.
I'm also a proponent of the brethren of a Lodge coming up with a lengthy and substantial  pre-Masonic education process before a man can even petition a Lodge for this very reason, consisting of classes like "What is the purpose of Initiation and Ritual" "Basic Numerology and Geometry" "Astrology and the Meaning of Important Stars and Planets" "Dionysus & Demeter: An Introduction into the Greater Mysteries of Greece", ETC.

I'm not trying to start an argument or anything with anyone, just trying to point out that I think alot of people in a lot of Lodges walk away from the 3 Blue Lodge Degrees disappointed, unenlightened, unimpressed and underwhelmed with an experience that's supposed to be instantly life changing, which I blame on a lack of esoteric and Masonic education, if "easy to understand" books like Freemasonry for Dummies were enough people wouldn't feel that way.



Couldn't disagree more. The only qualifications one needs are to be a man, of mature age, to come forward of his own free will and accord, under the tongue of good report.

If there is a lack of Masonic education, fine, address that. But Masonic education is just that -- for masons.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RedDoor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2013 at 7:51pm
Originally posted by CanuckMason CanuckMason wrote:

Originally posted by CCOV17 CCOV17 wrote:


I agree that Freemasonry for Dummies is definitely intended for non Masons or to be given to someone to read before a 1st Degree if they have zero knowledge of what Masonry is, but I don't necessarily agree that someone like that should be allowed to join a Lodge in that condition. Not saying he's not worthy and won't make a fantastic brother in due time, just that he's not well enough qualified to be duly and truly prepared at that moment.
I'm a big beliver in what Wilmshurst says, that the Ritual is lost upon, and not intended for, the Neophyte that has not come to the portals of Masonry properly prepared and versed in the art of Esoteric Initiation. Meaning Masonry doesn't create nor should it endeavorer to try to create  "Traveling Men", that men should already be learned in the philosophic traditions and practices of the Lesser and Greater Mysteries of antiquity BEFORE not after his first entrance into a Lodge.
I'm also a proponent of the brethren of a Lodge coming up with a lengthy and substantial  pre-Masonic education process before a man can even petition a Lodge for this very reason, consisting of classes like "What is the purpose of Initiation and Ritual" "Basic Numerology and Geometry" "Astrology and the Meaning of Important Stars and Planets" "Dionysus & Demeter: An Introduction into the Greater Mysteries of Greece", ETC.

I'm not trying to start an argument or anything with anyone, just trying to point out that I think alot of people in a lot of Lodges walk away from the 3 Blue Lodge Degrees disappointed, unenlightened, unimpressed and underwhelmed with an experience that's supposed to be instantly life changing, which I blame on a lack of esoteric and Masonic education, if "easy to understand" books like Freemasonry for Dummies were enough people wouldn't feel that way.



Couldn't disagree more. The only qualifications one needs are to be a man, of mature age, to come forward of his own free will and accord, under the tongue of good report.

If there is a lack of Masonic education, fine, address that. But Masonic education is just that -- for masons.
 
Well said Canuck...totally agree
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BigBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/02/2013 at 2:21pm
My favorites are a little different.

1) Builders of Empire: Freemasons and British Imerialism, 1717-1927
2) Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840

Both are written actual historians (non-masons) and while I took issue with parts of Revolutionary Brotherhood, both are great reads. It's also nice to get an etic perspective.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote goomba Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/02/2013 at 7:40pm
I started reading Building Boaz and am getting a lot out of it.  Breaking the cypher has been fun as well.  I still haven't figured out about 8 letters.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Caution1010 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/03/2013 at 6:17pm
The Craft and its symbols was eye opening to me as a new mason. Currently reading "Prince Hall: Life & Legacy" and I'm actually enjoying it
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