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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction to the Mysteries of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons
Freemasons for Dummies is an excellent introduction to the mysteries of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. If you know nothing about Masonry and are perhaps curious about this ancient fraternity, Freemasons for Dummies will answer most of your questions. Even if you were made a Mason long ago and have many years of experience in the Craft, you will still likely find a...
Published on January 11, 2006 by Michael Chesbro

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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative
I bought this book because I'm just starting out as a Freemason. It was pointed out to me by a few of the brothers as a good way to get a glimpse into what Freemasonry was all about. Indeed several topics are covered in this guide and I did find many factoids & even formal versus informal presentations of different symbols and stories that were circulated about Masons...
Published on June 9, 2008 by Deven M. Niles


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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction to the Mysteries of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, January 11, 2006
By 
Michael Chesbro (Rainier, Washington USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Freemasons For Dummies (Paperback)
Freemasons for Dummies is an excellent introduction to the mysteries of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. If you know nothing about Masonry and are perhaps curious about this ancient fraternity, Freemasons for Dummies will answer most of your questions. Even if you were made a Mason long ago and have many years of experience in the Craft, you will still likely find a thing or two of interest in the pages of this book.

Freemasons for Dummies is written by Chris Hodapp, a Past Master of Masonic Lodges in Indiana, and a member of the Royal Arch Masons, Cryptic Masons, and the Knights Templar, along with many other accomplishments in Masonry. Chris Hodapp is certainly well qualified and knowledgeable about Masonry, and shares this knowledge in an enjoyable, easy to read writing style, that makes Freemasons for Dummies both informative and fun to read.

The book is divided into six major sections:

1. What Is Freemasonry ~ a history of Masonry, along with its philosophy and a discussion of some of ceremonies.

2. The Mechanics Of Freemasonry ~ explaining how Freemasons are organized, more about ceremonies, and the symbols of Freemasonry, along with a discussion of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the Masons.

3. Knights, Swords, Fezzes, And Dresses ~ discussing the appendant bodies of Freemasonry, such as the York and Scottish Rites, the Mystic Shrine, and the extended Masonic family.

4. Freemasons Today And Tomorrow ~ Is Masonry still relevant today? What is the future of the Masons? And... how to become a Mason yourself - 2B1Ask1.

5. The Part Of Ten ~ This section discusses 10 groups of famous Masons, 10 anti-Mason hoaxes and conspiracies, and 10 places of Masonic excellence: including the Freemason's Hall in Philadelphia, the Templar Church in London, and Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland.

6. Appendixes ~ Here we find the "Regius Manuscript", Anderson's Constitutions, and a list of the Grand Lodges throughout the United States and Canada.

While there are certainly much grander tomes written about the Craft of Freemasonry and its mysteries, Freemasons for Dummies should not be discounted as a serious reference. Freemasons for Dummies is well-written, informative, and highly recommended for anyone interested in the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FREEMASONS FOR DUMMIES, October 15, 2005
This review is from: Freemasons For Dummies (Paperback)
Having been a member of the Masonic fraternity for more than forty years, I have had occasion to read most of the classics on explaining and defending Freemasonry. Now we have a single volume that treats the subject in a clear and fair fashion.

Brother Chris Hodapp has produced the very best one volume book on the general background of Freemasonry that I have ever read. As is true with all of the "for Dummies" series it is a primer about the subject. Since it is written in the style of the "for Dummies" books, it is an easy read and doesn't get bogged down in a lot of technicalities. However, since it is so general, there will be some Masons that will find that a few details don't fit their particular jurisdiction. This does not spoil the soup!

The history of the Craft covers the subject in an across-the-board manner that gives the reader enough to understand where it came from and how it evolved.

The section on religion is an excellent treatment that is fair to the objections of some religious bodies and helps the reader to understand some of the criticisms of Masonry. Yet it gives viable arguments that support Freemasonry in spite of some of these objections. And the hoaxes, myths and misconceptions about the fraternity are very well presented.

Explanations of the organization of Masonry and the history and place that the variety of appendant bodies have within the fraternity, are excellent.

The thoughts about the future of this centuries old fraternity are positive and even suggestions for its revitalization are interesting and timely.

This is THE book for anyone that does not know anything about the Craft as well as the member that may know something of his fraternity but can't quite put it all in perspective. And, the seasoned veteran of the Craft will also learn a lot.

I heartily endorse the book for anyone interested in the subject of Freemasonry.

Bravo, Bro. Chris!!!

Bro. Bil Vassily, Past Master

Liverpool Syracuse Lodge #501

Grand Lodge of New York
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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best intro to Freemasonry, September 26, 2005
By 
Dr. Kenneth W. Davis (Rio Rancho, New Mexico, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Freemasons For Dummies (Paperback)
Although I'm not a Mason, I've sampled perhaps a dozen books on Freemasonry during the past year. As I read this book, I knew it was the resource I'd been looking for.

I wouldn't have thought the subject matter would fit the "For Dummies" format very well, but it does. Although the book is encyclopedic in its coverage, it's always clear and lively, and it never takes itself too seriously. It's a fun and informative read, as well as a reference to return to. I recommend it as the best introduction to Freemasonry I've found.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The primer on Freemasonry you've been looking for, October 10, 2005
By 
James Dillman (Indianapolis, IN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Freemasons For Dummies (Paperback)
Before getting into the nuts and bolts of my review of Freemasonry For Dummies, honesty compels me to disclose that the author, Worshipful Brother Chris Hodapp (read the book to get the skinny on the Worshipful Brother part), is a friend and Masonic brother whom it has been my great fortune to know for several years. Those of us in the Indiana Masonic community have long been informed and entertained via articles he has had published in the Indiana Freemason and by his musings on Hiram's Forum, an internet discussion board that he moderates for the Grand Lodge of Indiana. The stars were surely in their proper alignment when the For Dummies publishers contacted Chris about writing this book. Freemasons For Dummies is a book that sorely needed to be written and Chris was the perfect choice to write it. I'm delighted not only for Chris, but also for our fraternity and the many thousands of new readers who will be exposed to his enormous talent as a result of reading this book.

Pick any topic addressed in Freemasons For Dummies-Masonic history, philosophy, symbolism, ritual, et. al. A trip to your local library will reveal dozens of tomes on every aspect of Freemasonry and its appendant bodies. Open almost any of the books and you will discover that much of it is written in language that in comparison would make the deed to your house read like a trash novel you might take along to the beach to pass the time while you catch a few rays. You will also find that there is no one book that adequately dissects all the basics of Freemasonry. The sad result is that there are a lot of Freemasons who know virtually nothing about the history of their ancient fraternity save what precious little they may have picked up in their lodgerooms over the years. Most non-Masons are either ignorant of Freemasonry altogether or awash in a sea of misconceptions and outright lies even if they have family members and friends who are Masons.

In Freemasons For Dummies, Chris Hodapp tells the fascinating story of Freemasonry using plain language and his unique wit to keep your attention, but don't let it fool you for a moment. This book was impeccably researched and Hodapp shows that he knows his stuff. Obviously, the format of the For Dummies series precludes the presentation of an exhaustive history and no one would purchase this book with the expectation of finding one. Hodapp has done a masterful job of condensing the history of Freemasonry into one chapter and he hits every mark as the story unfolds.

As you progress through the book, you will be introduced to the philosophy of Freemasonry, Masonic symbolism, the inner workings of a lodge, and get a virtual peek into a lodgeroom while the degrees of Freemasonry are being conferred. Much of what has heretofore been considered secret is revealed to the reader while the real secrets of Freemasonry remain unscathed. You will learn about several of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry such as the York Rite (including the Knights Templar), Scottish Rite (32nd degree Masons), and The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (better known as that fun-loving group, the Shriners), and many more. Perhaps most importantly, you will see many of the popular conspiracy theories, half-truths, and lies bandied about by anti-Masons systematically debunked.

If all that isn't enough, in Chapter 14, Hodapp climbs up on his soapbox and delivers some spot-on social commentary that addresses the relevance of Freemasonry in the 21st Century. I promise you it is the equal of anything you will read anywhere in any publication. This chapter alone justifies the price of the book. It is here that Hodapp really shines and displays the eloquence that I believe will ultimately transform him from the new kid on the block to a place among the elite of Masonic writers. Chapter 15 confronts head-on many of the issues modern Freemasonry is faced with as it tries to carve out its niche in today's society and will be of particular interest to Freemasons.

Freemasons For Dummies is a primer for Masons new and old as well as for prospective Masons. It merits a place on the bookshelf of every Mason no matter how well-read he might be. As master of my lodge, I intend to make it required reading for all of our new initiates. For those non-Masons who just want to learn more about that group of men known as the Freemasons, this book is without equal. Nowhere else will you find a more concise, easy to read, or informative treatise on the subject of Freemasonry. Chris Hodapp has written with intelligence, style, and a sense of humor that successfully demystifies Freemasonry and makes Freemasons For Dummies an easy read.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute best Freemason resource available, December 27, 2005
By 
Tom B. (Barnesville, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Freemasons For Dummies (Paperback)
This is perhaps the best resourse out there on the craft. This book goes into great detail about the past, present, and future of Freemasonry, and gives an excellent primer on the goings on with the Fraternity.

In a way that is respectful to the customs and secrets of Freemasonry it gives the uniniated a glimpse into what Freemasonry is all about, but does it in a way that even those who are members will find enlightening and entertaining. I myself learned a lot and was inspired by some of the stories Brother Hodapp tells in it, most notably why he decided to join the Craft.

A great book for those who are new to Freemasonry, are old to it, or just want to figure out what the heck we do, this is a must read for any Masonic library.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative, June 9, 2008
By 
Deven M. Niles "Midian" (Coralville, IA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Freemasons For Dummies (Paperback)
I bought this book because I'm just starting out as a Freemason. It was pointed out to me by a few of the brothers as a good way to get a glimpse into what Freemasonry was all about. Indeed several topics are covered in this guide and I did find many factoids & even formal versus informal presentations of different symbols and stories that were circulated about Masons in general. I wouldn't call it the most definitive source but it's for sure worth the price and a valuable resource for any brother who's just getting started with Freemasonry.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Source, Readable Style, No Secrets Revealed, March 21, 2006
This review is from: Freemasons For Dummies (Paperback)
Christopher Hodapp has given us an excellent source on Freemasonry. In very readable style he covers, WITHOUT REVEALING MASONIC SECRETS, the essentials of the Craft and its collateral bodies. There is a brief historical sketch of Ancient Masonry, and of Masonic development in the United States. He tells of Masons of note, not least those who figure importantly in the history of our country (U.S.A.), and notes the leading role it has played in building a sound society. It is a book that members of the fraternity can read with profit, and can share with those non-members of their acquaintance without revealing that which should not be revealed.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW- a Great tool for all Masons and non-Masons, December 3, 2005
This review is from: Freemasons For Dummies (Paperback)
I was skeptical when I first saw this. I have many books on Masonry and wanted to learn more as a Mason. All the other books I have are dry and hard to comprehend, This is a very easy book to follow and it is packed full of great information for all Masons and Non-Masons. As the author states in his book, this is a book for thoase masons who want to learn more, those who are thinking about becoming masons, the wives of masons who want to know what there husbands are doing, and those who are skeptical of the Freemasons. Excellent! Highly Recommend this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masonic Essential, January 19, 2006
By 
James R. Hunter (Sao Paulo, Brazil) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Freemasons For Dummies (Paperback)
As opposed to most masonic books, Hodapp's introduction to Masonry is written clearly and with a fair amount of humor. It provides the essential information about the history, values and symbols of Freemasonry without the mumbo-jumbo that so often makes Masonic literature abstruse and unclear. As well, Hodapp's book covers the controversies surrounding Freemasonry and its opponents.

Don't be put off by the Dummies series imprint. This is essential reading for Masons, those interested in becoming Masons, spouses of Masons--who are always a little bit unsure about what their partners do in the Lodge--and people simply interested in demystifying Freemasonry.

Hodapp's book is quite American Freemasonry oriented, but don't let that put you off. The information he covers is valuable for all. I am recommending this book to the members of my Craft lodge, which is in Brazil.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, March 8, 2006
By 
J. Bohner "Joe" (Holgate, OH United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Freemasons For Dummies (Paperback)
I am a Past Master and 35 year member of 2 Masonic Lodges, a York Rite Mason, and currently an officer in the Eastern Star. This is the finest masonic book I have ever read. It is entertaining, educational, and just plain fun to read. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the fraternity!
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