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American Freemasons: Three Centuries of Building Communities Hardcover – June 15, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
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“Tabbert, curator of the National Heritage Museum and master of a Masonic lodge in Massachusetts, writes from the inside out, offering an interesting overview of the history of Freemasonry and its attributes.”
“This beautifully-illustrated book is the best introduction to the Masonic past now available for brothers and for curious outsiders.”
-Steven C. Bullock,author of Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730–1840
“Visually, this is an attractive book: large format, profusely illustrated, just on the right side of coffee-table-ish.”
“The real history of Freemasonry is arguably more interesting than all the tales woven about it.”
-U.S. News & World Report
“From colonial times to the present, Masons have always been central to community life in America. Mark Tabbert tells their story in a fresh and arresting way. . . . This informative and visually delightful book introduces us to a vital aspect of our nation's civic history.”
-Theda Skocpol,Harvard University
Top Customer Reviews
The author takes into consideration his reader and doesn't shroud his writting so that a non-mason could not understand its (masonry) history. This is extremely important for someone to know that may not pick this book up because he/she is afraid that it doesn't contain a true depiction of the fraternity.
Tabbert's intent is clear from the beginning--share with the reader a history that doesn't hide anything (as many historical texts often do), and present something he is obviously passionate about with the world.
If you are intersted in the history of masonry in America, please don't hesitate to add this book to your library! It truly is a great investment.
The author's expertise as a Museum curator is readily apparent, as looking through this book is like walking through a comprehensive museum of American Freemasonry. The pages are filled with photos of old Masonic prints, glassware, Knight Templar swords, fraternal regalia, ceramics, jewels and medallions, embroidered banners, stained glass windows, old postcards of Masonic Temples and Lodge buildings, stage settings and costumes, pocket watches, Masonic furniture, altars, working tools and trestleboards. Its a visual treat.
However, the best thing about this book is that it is without a doubt the best book on the market to explain the history of American Freemasonry to both the Mason and non-Mason alike. For the Mason, it will introduce him to many aspects of Masonic history that he was not aware of. For the non-Mason, it will give him or her a comprehensive view from Freemasonry's beginnings in Europe, through the American Revolution, up to the present day.
Unafraid to venture into the controversial, Tabbert even has a chapter that deals with the anti-Masonic period of the late 1820's and 1830's, as well as the fundamentalist anti-Masonry of the 1990's.
If some have felt that Tabbert is an apologist for the Masonic fraternity, it is only because he, as a historian, has not added to the mass of nonsense written by anti-Masons and conspiracy theorists. As a professional Museum curator, Tabbert has stuck to historical facts and that will naturally place his book on a higher plane than many of the more sensational books on the subject.Read more ›
Equally noteworthy is how well balanced and historically informed Mark Tabbert's account is, given that its chief purpose is to introduce non-Masons to the fraternity. One learns, for example, how Masonic universalism helped bring men of different classes and backgrounds together in mutual support and yet how white Freemasons could still draw the line at the acceptance of African American members (or even the recognition of black Masonic legitimacy) until just the very recent past. It is particularly to the author's credit that he includes the evolution of African American (Prince Hall) Masonry as a central part of his story, along with the spread of Masonry to women and young people. Throughout the book, the author draws on most of the best historical scholarship about the brotherhood to be produced in recent decades both in the universities and in the fraternity itself.
Mark Tabbert's book will also prove stimulating to all those, both in the fraternity and outside it, who believe that many of the most important historical questions about Freemasonry have not yet been answered. How exactly has this very private institution served as a foundation for American public life? Did the enormous expansion of the fraternity between 1900 and 1960 mark the success or the dilution of its mission? Is the long trajectory of Masonic history better understood by the model of a voluntary association or a religious denomination? Readers will find plenty of evidence in this fine book to begin to suggest answers to these and other questions about one of America's most popular and yet still most mysterious institutions.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Never even took the stretch wrap off myself, but gift recipient loved it so I'm happy.Published 3 months ago by edward anderson
I never understood my Dad's Masonic attachments. The bird with a 32 inscribed on the ring he wore. The meetings he would never miss. So serious and dedicated. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Carolyn J. Morris
This is a great little book. I love the illustrations as well, and the fact that it's a high-quality print with glossy-print pages.Published 20 months ago by Steven Lavoie
Well written history of Freemasonry in the United States. Easy to read and understand.Published 22 months ago by Harold B. Hobbs
I had hoped for a more complete and detailed treatment of the post Civil War and contemporary times.Published 23 months ago by Historian