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Freemasons For Dummies Paperback – September 30, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 169 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"The book is a delight; no Masonic prudery here, no academic dry as dust chapters, no grand lodge views as determined by a camel of a committee... a simple, readable style that encourages one to read on." --The Square Magazine, March 2006

"Hodapp treats the topic with honesty and sincerity, but not with a cloying reverence. . . Highly recommended, especially for the new Mason." --Jim Tresner, Scottish Rite Journal

"No book since John Robinson's 'Born In Blood' has created more interest and excitement in Masonic circles and among the general public." --Carl Wilson, The Rite Recorder 

"I think this book is the best thing that has happened to Freemasonry in many a moon, causing many a brother to read a Masonic book for the first time..." --Ralph Herbold, Southern California Research Lodge 

“This might be the best general book on Freemasonry any Mason or non-Mason could want.”--Gary Dryfoos, A Page About Freemasonry

From the Back Cover

Covers Masonry's origins, purpose, and symbols

Your plain-English introduction to this ancient organization

Fascinated by Freemasons? This balanced, eye-opening guide demystifies Freemasonry, explaining everything from its elaborate rituals and cryptic rights to the veiled symbols and their meanings. You'll understand the Freemasonry philosophy, meet famous Masons throughout history, explore the many controversies and conspiracy theories that swirl around the organization, and discover the changes coming to the Craft.

Discover how to

  • Get a handle on how this fraternal order operates
  • Understand the degrees and groups of Freemasonry
  • Gain knowledge of the Freemason degrees
  • Recognize misconceptions about Masons
  • Find a lodge

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies (September 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764597965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764597961
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.

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Format: 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.
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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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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.
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