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Builders of Empire: Freemasons and British Imperialism, 1717-1927 First Edition Edition

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807830888
ISBN-10: 0807830887
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Editorial Reviews


Fascinating. . . . Supported by an amazingly rich collection of documents, impressive illustrations and diagrams. . . . The book not only tells us brilliantly the story of British imperial Freemasonry but also offers new ways to think about the global history of imperialism. . . . Provides new perspectives to our understanding the historiography of trans-national colonialism.--Acta Orientalia Vilnensia

Brings long overdue recognition to the importance of Freemasonry to the culture of the British Empire and provides a firm foundation upon which other scholars can build.--Journal of World History

Ambitious and absorbing . . . a careful, measured accounting of the broad Imperial scope of British and Irish Masonry, based on impressively wide-ranging archival research and serious engagement with recent historiographical debates.--Journal of Modern History

Audacious and interesting. . . . Marshals an impressive array of source material, creating a sweeping view of British Masonry over more than two centuries. . . . . It is impossible to recommend this book enough. . . . Should be required reading for anyone interested in British imperialism and Masonry in particular. . . . 'Thank you' to Professor Harland-Jacobs for this important contribution to Masonic scholarship.--International Masonic Review


Builders of Empire greatly advances our understanding of Masonry in both Britain and its colonial outposts, and provides an important new perspective on imperialism. This is a significant work, richly imagined, elegantly presented, and deeply engaged with an impressive range of important issues.--Steven C. Bullock, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

|The book's range of conceptual vision, geography, and time-span is exceptional. . . . [A] pioneering work--Victorian Studies

|A useful addition both to British Empire studies and the growing field of Masonic studies.--Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History

|A significant and sophisticated book.--Freemasons

|A significant contribution to a new imperial historiography that emphasizes the networked nature of empire, as well as the burgeoning study of imperial masculinity. . . . An invaluable point of reference for many future scholars and will open the eyes of even more to the importance of Masonic networks.--American Historical Review

|Thoroughly researched, richly illustrated, and clearly argued, this work makes a solid contribution to British and British Empire history. . . . Essential.--CHOICE

|Wide-ranging and penetrating.--The International History Review

|This is the first book to study Freemasonry in a global context. Through meticulous research and astute analysis, Harland-Jacobs vividly brings to life the history of the Masonic brotherhood over two centuries in Britain and the empire. She argues convincingly that the tension between inclusion and exclusion in British imperial Freemasonry was the quintessential story of empire. This is an important contribution to imperial history that draws attention to an often neglected chapter in the history of empire: the creation of supranational identities.--Mrinalini Sinha, Pennsylvania State University

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; First Edition edition (April 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807830887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807830888
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,343,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mitchell Ozog on March 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Freemasonry's rise, its grand lodges, distinguished members, and even military connections have long been the subject of historical scrutiny. Jessica L. Harland-Jacobs, however, has accomplished something more audacious and interesting in Freemasonry and British Imperialism. She demonstrates convincingly that Masonry, despite its cosmopolitan and early revolutionary associations, ultimately worked hand-in-hand with colonial interests to shape a notion of British imperialism which, at its height, sought to transcend geography and indigenous identities. It sought to do this, Harland-Jacobs argues, by augmenting imperial splendor with Masonry's own "ornamentalism" and providing social, cultural, and practical benefits to British citizens engaged in foreign trade and colonization.

Harland-Jacobs became curious about Masonry following a lecture she attended on the United Irish Rebellion of 1798. Freemasonry, she came to realize:
...presents an excellent way to evaluate the contribution of cultural institutions to the historical process of globalization. Freemasons established one of the first global institutional networks that not only linked far flung Britons to one another but also brought Britons into contact with other European imperialists as well as indigenous men throughout the formal and informal empires. An analysis of Freemasonry makes it possible to identify various characteristics that enable institutions to function on a worldwide basis and promote globalization... We should therefore seek the history of globalization not only in the trading networks and empires of the early modern period...but also in the cultural institutions that connected men across the global landscape of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hatatitla on August 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I read bunch of books and text about conspiracies, illuminaties, freemasons, jesuits, secret societies. I can not tell it was not worth but output of most of them ended in fog without end. I learn some new historical details, but who was behind courtain was not there. I figure it out and have some support, but I wanted find some mainstream scholars to support my thoughts as:

1, Original secret knowledge was not secret and was widespread by Vedas. Even builders of pyramids in Egypt were vedic. Kabalah, sufism and gnosticism have roots in vedas. Vedanta and Ayurveda are vedic sciences which were oppresed. Vedas were opressed for political reason. Essene healers practiced kabalah with tree of life and spiritual knowledge so knowingly or not it goes to vedas and this hidden knowledge goeas thru Mandaeanism, manicheaism,essenes,bogomils to cathars and templars.
2, Because it was opressed it was carried thru centuries in secret and secret societies developed
3, Secret societie have been hijacked and used for economic-political profit

First support of my thoughts was done by Nicholas T. Parsons who wrote: Custodians of the Future.Scottish and English Influences on Hungary in the Reform Age. By this document was sealed that Britain aka East India Company use money made by looting other nations to turn Europe and world into East India Company model, today known as globalization, thru freemasonry etc.

Money talks- follow the money. For me it was really surreal that some men,as Adam Weishaupt or Rothschild, one day wake up and they make plans and so on. I saw the same surrealism with "jewish bankers", freemasons, donmehs, bolsheviks, wars, revolutions till Arab spring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JP on February 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just a great book. It takes one all over the world and back again. I would recommend this to anyone.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Papakostas on November 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Excellent analysis of the geopolitics of freemasonry during the expansion of the British Empire. Makes you wonder what the world would be like without freemasonry.
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