The Craft


‘a superb book that reads like an adventure novel. It’s informative, fascinating and often very funny. Dickie recounts the history of freemasonry by breaking it down into beautifully written stories rooted in places crucial to the organisation. 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 (London)
John Dickie ‘takes on this sensational subject with a wry turn of phrase and the cool judgment of a fine historian. … I enjoyed this book enormously. Dickie’s gaze is both wide and penetrating. He makes a persuasive case for masonry’s historic importance.’ Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
Who are the Freemasons and why do they incite murderous hatred, fanatical devotion and occasional ridicule? Why on earth would a bestselling 1886 French tract warn: ‘French mothers! Lock up your daughters! Here come the Freemasons!’ John Dickie answers such questions and many more. … Convincingly researched and thoroughly entertaining…. Dickie is admirably even-handed in his treatment of the secret society that so many love to hate. The Wall Street Journal
The Craft is a shadow history of modernity. Though more sober than most lodge meetings, it is, like its subject, ingenious and frequently bizarre… The Craft is well-crafted and sensible, making good use of English archives which have only recently been opened. The Spectator
This book shows that, despite rumours of demon dwarfs, piano-playing crocodiles, and world domination, the real story of the Freemasons is one of four centuries of male eccentricity. The Times makes The Craft one of its books of 2020
A fascinating tale … well-researched. … Mr Dickie has turned legend into history. The Economist
Dickie’s book acts as a soothing balm for these irritated, irritating and irritable times … startling … distinctly refreshing .. astonishing… Dickie laces his text with enough bizarre characters to pull the reader through, and his no-nonsense tone is a tonic. Standpoint Magazine
Sweeping, synthetic, finely crafted and freshly conceived… Dickie offers rich chapters on the appeal of the brotherhood in various parts of the British Empire, India above all, and its astonishing popularity in the United States. He devotes some of his best chapters to a dark history of suspicion and persecution. Darrin M McMahon, The Literary Review
Eye-opening … an epic, continent-spanning story that reaches right into the present. History Revealed magazine
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