Thursday, April 7, 2016

Freemasonry by W. Kirk MacNulty

This 2006 hardcover is an indispensable history and overview of Freemasonry, illustrated with 386 plates, most of which are in color. The volume is valuable not only to historians, but to layman interested in learning the craft. The book is sub-titled “Symbols, Secrets, Significance,” although very few secrets are revealed, and they don’t need to be. Everything you need to know is already in plain view, and awaits your discovery. W. Kirk MacNulty is, according to the jacket copy, himself a Freemason for over thirty years. His research for this book was extensive and he views Freemasonry objectively from every possible iteration and angle. I was impressed by the depth of his knowledge and the high quality of his prose. This book is far more than a traditional “coffee-table” hardback. What we are presented with is a fair and dedicated history of the craft. The book is divided into seven sections. The first section traces the origins and influences that may have inspired Freemasonry and the second section offers an historical overview. The third and fourth section cover the various Freemason degrees. The fifth section discusses Freemasonry in our society, and the sixth section tackles the secrets, symbols and rituals. The final section discusses the cultural aspects of Freemasonry, including its prominent historical members. Author W. Kirk MacNulty has written an excellent book that never divulges any blood oath secrets but rather indulges in a public explanation of Freemasonry that helps put the craft into perspective. The positive influence of Freemasons on our culture is far more profound than most people realize, and the illustrations and text of MacNulty’s book are insightful.

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