- 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: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,208,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Builders of Empire: Freemasons and British Imperialism, 1717-1927 First Edition Edition
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
A significant and sophisticated book.--Freemasons
A useful addition both to British Empire studies and the growing field of Masonic studies.--Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History
The book's range of conceptual vision, geography, and time-span is exceptional. . . . [A] pioneering work--Victorian Studies
Wide-ranging and penetrating.--The International History Review
Thoroughly researched, richly illustrated, and clearly argued, this work makes a solid contribution to British and British Empire history. . . . Essential.--CHOICE
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Top Customer Reviews
The most irrefutable and disturbing evidence of British Imperialism through the mode of Freemasonry is Cecil Rhodes and his formation of the well documented Round Table Groups. Rhodes, who was initiated into Freemasonry at the Apollo University Lodge No. 357, also joined a Scottish Rite Lodge at Oxford called the Prince Rose Croix Lodge No. 30. Rhodes, with an eye towards advancing the British Empire stated in one of his seven famous wills the following;
"The day I became a member in the Masonic order, I saw the wealth and power they possess, the influence they hold. I think over their ceremonies and I wonder how a large body of men can devote themselves to what at times appear the most ridiculous and absurd rites without an object and without an end.
"Why should we not form a secret society with but one object - the furtherance of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole uncivilized world under British rule, for the recovery of the United States, and for...making the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire?"
The men who followed Rhodes' footsteps in creating his Masonically oriented secret society for the advancement of the British Empire were all Freemasons and British Race Patriots - Lord Rothschild, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Milner, and Arthur Balfour. Astonishingly, Harland-Jacobs only mentions Cecil Rhodes in passing on page 274 when she describes a Masonic lodges closing down during a siege;
"Meanwhile, in Kimberley, the hall was converted into a hospital; a local Mason reported to London that 'during the siege we practically closed up Masonry.' (Cecil Rhodes, also a Mason, was in Kimberely during the siege.)"
Why Harland-Jacobs chose to leave out such irrefutable evidence pointing at the connection between Freemasonry and British Imperialism is beyond me.
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.
Harland-Jacobs traces the Order through its development as an Enlightenment social club, as a means of connectivity, support, and personal advancement for British Masons abroad, and, following the American, French, and failed Irish Rebellion of 1798, as an organization which aggressively affirmed its loyalty to the Crown with public demonstrations, orations, charity, and military service. "Whether living in Dublin, Montreal, or Calcutta," Harland-Jacob suggests, "a man gained a keen awareness of the empire by belonging to Masonry."
Harland-Jacobs marshals an impressive array of source material, creating a sweeping view of British Masonry over more than two centuries. Of particular interest are the relationships and conflicts between Irish, Scottish, and English Masonry as they spread through the Empire (such as the admission of former convicts into Irish lodges in Australia) and the attempt to integrate indigenous men into "British" Masonry while, at the same time, maintaining power identities of "ruling" and "subject" peoples. Harland-Jacobs concludes her history with the Empire's dissolution looming on the horizon. She quotes Indian Mason and writer K.R. Cama as reminiscing, "One of the happy results attainted by introducing natives into Masonry has been that of bringing them to closely associate, socially, with their European brethren - I was almost going to say, masters." That Masonry continues in India and other former colonies to this day, despite such conflicted feelings, is a testament to its true universalism and the gifts it offers worthy brethren.
It is impossible to recommend this book enough. Builders of Empire should be required reading for anyone interested in British imperialism and Masonry in particular. Nor could I, having read it, consider my personal Masonic library complete without it. Builders of Empire contains information on Irish Masonry, for instance, I've read nowhere else. "Thank you" Professor Harland-Jacobs for this important contribution to Masonic scholarship.
This book was reviewed by Bonisteel Masonic Library at: BML website[...] by Robert C. Blackburn,PM