The Craft: How the Freemasons made the Modern World

‘a superb book that reads like an adventure novel. It’s informative, fascinating and often very funny. … The depth of research is awe-inspiring, but what really makes this book is the author’s visceral understanding of what constitutes a good story’
- The Times

The engrossing and endlessly surprising global history of Freemasonry

Freemasonry’s ‘inviolable secrecy’ is elusive and powerful. It inspires loyalty and attracts trouble. It is the engine of the fascination and fear that have always surrounded the Freemasons.

Freemasonry, for the men with access to its mysteries, offers a fellowship that transcends all differences of race, religion, and class. It provides a lifelong spiritual apprenticeship—a moral system for building better men in the same way that the stonemasons of old built castles and cathedrals.

For the Masons’ many enemies, secrecy makes Freemasonry suspect: a sexist cabal of self-promoters whose code of covert mutual assistance is a menace for a free and open society.

The abyss of misunderstanding between the two sides has marked the history of Freemasonry for three centuries, turning the Masonic dream of a brotherhood rooted in symbols and rituals into one of the most contagious ideas of the modern age.

Secrecy is the key to Masonic history in that, if we can grasp it, we can unlock a rich store of narratives about how the world we live in was made.

Read The Craft, and reveal the secrets.

On Screen

John has brought his expertise and writing skills to a number of TV shows about themes ranging from the history of Italian food (now available on Amazon Prime), to the Catholic Church, and the underworld labyrinth of the mafia.

With new projects on the go, follow him on social media for updates.


John Dickie

John is Professor of Italian Studies at University College London. He is an internationally recognised specialist on many aspects of Italian history and the mafia, and his books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Exhilarating history, powered by the sort of muscular prose one associates with great detective fiction.

Financial Times

New from John's Twitter Feed


Mafia Republic
Mafia Brotherhoods
Cosa Nostra
Scroll to Top