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Deciphering the Lost Symbol: Freemasons, Myths and the Mysteries of Washington, D.C. Paperback – January 13, 2010
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"Confident in recommending it to everyone, Mason and non-mason alike. This is the perfect a compliment to The Lost Symbol and I feel it should be on the shelf right next to it on your bookcase." --David Naughton-Shires, Masonic Art Exchange
"A must for those who search for hidden meanings in what seems to be plain sight." --Midwest Book review
Solomon's Builders|||9781569755792|14.95|Ulysses Press|01/2007|8000||
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But so far...I've enjoyed it.
Mr. Hodapp's writing is clear and engaging and not at all pedantic. He explains things an easy to understand way, never talking down to the reader, and sprinkles in liberal doses of American History as well as debunking quite a few of the strange theories about the layout of Washington D.C.
I would definitely read this book after the novel however, as there are many spoilers in the book (which is very necessary if you think about it).
All in all this book is well worth the price.
Hodapp's "Deciphering The Lost Symbol" comes at the subject with a longstanding knowledge of Masonic history, philosophy and symbolism. His previous books, Freemasons For Dummies and Solomon's Builders: Freemasons, Founding Fathers and the Secrets of Washington D.C. are certainly longer and more detailed as introductions to the subject, and in fact, Solomon's Builders seems to have been the bigger brother of this book, written before The Lost Symbol arrived in bookstores. Where "Deciphering" works is in the examination of Freemasonry as it is fictionalized by Brown, versus what is reality. Hodapp presents the subject with honesty and humor, along with a chapter on Noetics that covers the topic more succinctly than any of the other guides I've read so far. And his final chapter is a very personal summation that I find quite compelling.
This book is thinner and covers less ground than Solomon's Builders, mostly because Brown included less in The Lost Symbol than most people figured he would. Hodapp warns readers up front that he discusses some of the same subjects here. Didn't bother me, because he was more generic in "Solomons", and zeroes in only on what Brown wrote about here. Really, the two books complement each other. He discusses the symbolism Brown uses, with the origin of the signs, symbols and words Robert Langdon encounters. The Washington Monument, the Capital, the Library of Congress, the Scottish Rite headquarters and the Masonic George Washington Memorial are all covered, especially from the Masonic point of view, but also in the details that Brown fictionalized. And the bibliography alone is intriguing enough to keep me buying books off of its list for years.
This book is illustrated (BTW, with the only proper illustration and origin of the "Hand of Mysteries" of anything I've read yet) with many photos, although it is not what I would call loaded with pictures. It's a shame the publisher didn't treat the art better (or at least larger). And for diehard fans, a map showing the locations of The Lost Symbol's action would have been a nice addition. But all in all, I believe this to be the best written of all of the Lost Symbol guides so far. I highly recommend it for readers who know nothing about the Masons and want to know what Brown got right and got wrong. And I am recommending it to the members of my lodge, too.
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