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The Better Angels of Our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War | [Michael A. Halleran]

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War

One of the enduring yet little-examined themes in Civil War lore is the widespread belief that on the field of battle and afterward, members of Masonic lodges would give aid and comfort to wounded or captured enemy Masons, often at great personal sacrifice and danger. This work is a deeply researched examination of the recorded, practical effects of Freemasonry among Civil War participants on both sides.
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Publisher's Summary

The first in-depth study of the Freemasons during the Civil War

One of the enduring yet little-examined themes in Civil War lore is the widespread belief that on the field of battle and afterward, members of Masonic lodges would give aid and comfort to wounded or captured enemy Masons, often at great personal sacrifice and danger. This work is a deeply researched examination of the recorded, practical effects of Freemasonry among Civil War participants on both sides.

From first-person accounts culled from regimental histories, diaries, and letters, Michael A. Halleran has constructed an overview of 19th-century American freemasonry in general and Masonry in the armies of both North and South in particular, and provided telling examples of how Masonic brotherhood worked in practice. Halleran details the response of the fraternity to the crisis of secession and war, and examines acts of assistance to enemies on the battlefield and in POW camps.

The author examines carefully the major Masonic stories from the Civil War, in particular the myth that Confederate Lewis A. Armistead made the Masonic sign of distress as he lay dying at the high-water mark of Pickett's charge at Gettysburg.

©2010 Michael A. Halleran (P)2012 Redwood Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"A valuable contribution to both Civil War history and the history of the Masonic lodge. Recommended." (CHOICE)
"[A] strong affirmation of the bond between warring Masonic brethren, in the war that brought more of them together on opposing sides than any in our history." (Christopher L. Hodapp, Editor, Journal of the Masonic Society)
"Michael Halleran has set a new, high standard for scholarship on Freemasonry in the Civil War. His stories are compelling, the research is impeccable, and his analysis gives fresh insights on the 'mystic tie' of the fraternity." (S. Brent Morris, Ph.D., Managing Editor, Scottish Rite Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (30 )
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  •  
    Teresa 02-08-15
    Teresa 02-08-15

    Reading is supposed to be fun and relaxing, not stressful and demanding.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Masonic and Civil War History"

    The introduction to this story begins with an attack on New Years Day in 1863 by Confederate General John B. Magruder on federal forces occupying Galveston, Texas. The USS Harriet Lane was commanded by Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright II who was killed and the next day the masonic lodge in Galveston, Harmony Lodge No.6 buried him after learning from a few Union prisoners that Wainwright was a mason. The book states that this is a well-known story in many masonic circles.

    “The Better Angels of Our Nature” is probably my favorite University Press audiobook. I love all things mason and grew up in a masonic family. I know many of the things in this book to be true. Helping your fellow brethren, charity is the greatest virtue to a mason. The Masonic Creed is Faith, Hope, and Charity.

    This audiobook discusses the origins of freemasonry. It’s the oldest fraternal organization in the world dating back to 16th c. Edinburgh and to the Age of Enlightenment and I feel probably even older than that. Women are also masons in the Order of the Eastern Star.
    I found it to be really neat how the masons helped one another during the Civil War. It’s just amazing listening to the strength of the Brotherhood even to this day. For history lovers or Civil War buffs, this is a great listen.

    About the narrator: JackChekijian did an OUTSTANDING job narrating this audiobook. It was professional, clean, and had great flow and consistency from beginning to end. He is just a wonderful asset to the works from University Press Audio. Really great job!

    Audiobook gifted in exchange for review.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    zoe 01-12-15
    zoe 01-12-15
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    "Freemasonry"
    Any additional comments?

    The book is well researched, with full citations and footnotes. It is a very interesting book which should be of interest to anyone researching Freemasonry. I enjoyed listening to the audiobook

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan United States 06-03-15
    Jan United States 06-03-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Perfect for current Freemasons and CSW folk"

    Well-researched and well-documented study of the influence and history of Freemasonry immediately prior and during the American Civil War with emphasis on the CSA. A scholarly offering of great import to both ACW aficionados and members of Masonic lodges, it is written in a reader-friendly manner and is not at all off-putting. There are no great secrets of Masonism revealed or any such nonsense.
    JC is an audio performer who is able to present scholarly theses in a manner which is straightforward yet personalized. No dramatics present, but a clear rendition of the author's material.
    This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no
    cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast.com

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DK 01-18-15
    DK 01-18-15 Member Since 2013

    HATE spoilers! Enjoy HOT, sexy books w/a plot. No vampires, paranormal, teens 4 me. Books outside HOT genre = books given to me to review

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    "Great For Civil War History and/or Freemason Buffs"
    Which scene was your favorite?



    This book read more like a textbook then anything else. That is not a complaint, just an observation. It is a collection of accounts regarding Freemasons and their behavior during wartime. Most showing how being a Freemason granted you special treatment by your brothers even if they were on the opposing side of the The Civil War.

    I was hoping to learn more about this secret society and I did learn a few bits, but it was not the tell all that I had hoped it to be.

    Jack Chekijian did an excellent job reading the text; the material could have been very monotonous. Chekijian was very steady. However, in times when warranted you could hear the excitement, sadness, confusion, etc. in his voice. I really enjoyed this narration and the performance of Jack Chekijian. He kept what could have been considered a textbook interesting to me.

    Notes: A few gory details regarding battlefields

    Creditworthy and/or $: This was not for me but for any U.S. history buff it would be an interesting read. A Freemason would probably find the subject matter really interesting. *I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my thoughts and a review.* While I would not use a credit or purchase this book for my personal library. I'm certain there is an audience out there who would really not blink to buy this.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl Cypress, TX, United States 07-08-13
    Daryl Cypress, TX, United States 07-08-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent choice for any Civil War collection"

    This is a excellent read for anyone interested in the Civil War, and especially for anyone interested in personal stories from the conflict. Some parts may not be clear to the non-Mason, but Masonic brothers will well understand what is being discussed.

    This will enhance any audiobook collection and is definitely something that one will listen to more than once.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane CLEVELAND, TN, United States 06-24-15
    Jane CLEVELAND, TN, United States 06-24-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Very interesting"

    Interesting insights into an area of the Civil War that is not written about very much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terri Berg GAS CITY, IN, United States 06-21-15
    Terri Berg GAS CITY, IN, United States 06-21-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Turning back the time, to the Civil War Era..."

    I received this audio book as a gift for the purpose of me listening to it and writing a honest and unbiased review. The material in this book is quite interesting. It deals with the Civil War Era and the Freemasons, their practices and history itself.

    Turning back the clock, way back to the Civil War days, when the Freemasons were our angels of mercy. It explores in detail of both facts and legends of how the Freemasons shaped our history and just how important they were. As I was listening to this book, I couldn't help feeling at home. This story made me feel like my boyfriend was watching the History Channel. He always has the volume up loud so I can hear it too.

    The author, Michael A Halleran did a great job writing all the details in this book. The research he must have done to accumulate all this is astounding. The narrator, Jack Chekijian once again delivers a flawless and smooth narration of this book. His voice is soothing and sounds so professional!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Bristol, CT, United States 12-24-12
    Ken Bristol, CT, United States 12-24-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Informative and Inspiring - Terrible Reader"
    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the story, the facts and the meaning behind it. I continue to be amazed at how the fraternal ties of brother masons did more to remind them of their duties to their fellow creatures than did their religious convictions or upbringing. I recommend this book to all freemasons and to anyone interested in this important part of the civil war. It is both enlightening and inspiring. May brotherly love prevail...


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator sounded like a text-to-speech app. I had to keep asking myself, "Is this a real human being reading this?" I concluded it was - which didn't help much as I couldn't figure out why they would have chosen someone like that to read a book like this.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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