“THE CRAFT” – How the Freemasons made the Modern World by John Dickie – A review

With a plethora of books on freemasonry written by freemasons, sometimes we come across something different which might give an outsider’s view of their perceptions of the Craft. It is easy to scoff but we owe it to ourselves to consider external viewpoints, which, if erroneous, allows us to challenge inconsistencies and to represent ourselves well when talking to the uninitiated. Worshipful Brother David Allan PSGD PAPGM, and also the Chairman of the Provincial Communications Committee, provides a review of this new book which may enlighten us into these so called “perceptions”.

“I am not sure why the author chose the title he did, once I had finished this book. John Dickie’s interest in Italian studies and his books on the Mafia inevitably lead him to pursue, in some detail P2 Lodge and its murky political and criminal connections.

He mentions that Freemasonry accepts the Galilean science of the earth moving around the sun, and therefore, the sun will always be at its equinox somewhere. The title is, on balance, fair, which is gratifying as Mr Dickie does not appear to be a Freemason, but it does fail to prove, one way or the other, the title.

A Lucky Dip –

The book is a lucky dip as we deal with early Roman church beliefs to Quasi masonic groups, which bear little resemblance to our current understanding of the Craft, and there are several visits into history, particularly Napoleonic, as one would expect, as Freemasonry is featured perhaps more strongly than it should have been, in Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Interesting to note that when dealing with the three major dictators of Europe in the middle of the last Century, Franco, Hitler and Mussolini, far from making the modern world, they are stories of Freemasonry being persecuted and ultimately driven underground, the reason for the later misconception that Freemasonry is a secret society, and a stigma we are only just ridding ourselves of.

A Middle Class Phenomenon –

It is apparent throughout that Freemasonry has been attractive to the aspirant middle classes for over two hundred years, and the perception that it is a dangerous organisation has been exaggerated by those nervous of keeping their power, although this point is not made in the book.

I enjoyed a lot of this book and learnt from it. It certainly does not prove that Freemasonry made the modern World other than by relating great achievement to those who have been Freemasons. Depending on your interests, the reader will be attracted to different parts of the book. It is worth a read and refreshingly a book on general release, but on balance is not critical of Freemasonry, although the author doesn’t quite go far enough to promote it either.

The Craft by John Dickie is published by Hodder and Stoughton – ISBN 9781473658196 – Priced £25 and may be purchased at booksellers and also on the internet.

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