In recent years, interest in Freemasonry, a secret society in which many of America’s most prominent figure have had some involvement, has increased significantly, thanks in part to the publication of “The Lost Symbol.” In this cryptic book by Dan Brown, author of “The Da Vinci Code,” Masons play an integral part in the mystery. Those who read that book and came away intrigued about the real society referenced within the pages of that thriller should have a look at “Freemasons for Dummies,” written by Christopher Hodapp.
The “for Dummies” books, which jump out at readers from the shelves because of their bright yellow covers, as written in such a way as to provide simple information to those who just want to know the basics of a particular subject. “Freemasons for Dummies” is no exception to this rule. That said, at 384 pages, the book is comprehensive enough that even someone who is already familiar with Freemasonry may find something new within its pages. For a mere twenty dollars, that’s quite a lot of worthwhile information to be absorbing.
“Freemasons for Dummies” is organized with six major sections, each focusing on a particular aspect of Freemasonry and its relation to the rest of society. The first chapter, “What is Freemasonry?” provides an overview of the secret society and discusses its history and major precepts. “The Mechanics of Freemasonry” has more to do with the way it is structured, with details on some of the organizational elements and ceremonies that its members practice. This section also delves a bit into the religious objections to the Freemason movement.
“Knights, Swords, Fezzes and Dresses” has to do with various branches of Masonry, while “Freemasons Today and Tomorrow” discusses the viability of Masonry in the modern world, ways in which it might change and what must be done in order to become a Mason. “The Part of Ten” includes several top ten lists, dealing with famous Masons, hoaxes and myths involving Masons and famous places with Masonic significance. Finally, the appendices provide more resources, including a list of Masonic lodges throughout the United States.
While “Freemasons for Dummies” is ideal for those with an interest in but not much knowledge of Freemasonry, even seasoned Masons can learn something from this book. Though it may not go into very much depth on a lot of topics, its scope is fairly exhaustive, and it’s a valuable source of information regarding this fascinating society.