• The Craft

  • How the Freemasons Made the Modern World
  • By: John Dickie
  • Narrated by: Simon Slater
  • Length: 16 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (187 ratings)

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The Craft  By  cover art

The Craft

By: John Dickie
Narrated by: Simon Slater
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Publisher's summary

Insiders call it the Craft.

Discover the fascinating true story of one of the most influential and misunderstood secret brotherhoods in modern society.

Founded in London in 1717 as a way of binding men in fellowship, Freemasonry proved so addictive that within two decades it had spread across the globe. Masonic influence became pervasive. Under George Washington, the Craft became a creed for the new American nation. Masonic networks held the British empire together. Under Napoleon, the Craft became a tool of authoritarianism and then a cover for revolutionary conspiracy. Both the Mormon Church and the Sicilian mafia owe their origins to Freemasonry. 

Yet the Masons were as feared as they were influential. In the eyes of the Catholic Church, Freemasonry has always been a den of devil-worshippers. For Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco, the Lodges spread the diseases of pacifism, socialism, and Jewish influence and so had to be crushed. 

Freemasonry's story yokes together Winston Churchill and Walt Disney; Wolfgang Mozart and Shaquille O'Neal; Benjamin Franklin and Buzz Aldrin; Rudyard Kipling and "Buffalo Bill" Cody; Duke Ellington and the duke of Wellington. 

John Dickie's The Craft is an enthralling exploration of a the world's most famous and misunderstood secret brotherhood, a movement that not only helped to forge modern society, but has substantial contemporary influence, with 400,000 members in Britain, more than a million in the USA, and around six million across the world.

©2020 John Dickie (P)2020 Hachette Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

"Convincingly researched and thoroughly entertaining." —The Wall Street Journal

"[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

"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."—Spectator

What listeners say about The Craft

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    5 out of 5 stars

The best book about Freemasonry out there.

I read 3/4 of the book at home, and finished the last 1/4 on audio. This book has stuff for non-masons, new masons, and experienced masons alike. Been a Mason for ten years, and this was a beautifully objective perspective of our craft. Well done Dickie!

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15 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A bit of a mixed bag

While the author has researched the history of Freemasonry he spinkles 21st century political correctness in his interpretation of history and is very quick to assign racism and sexism to the social norms of the past. Additionally he either does not know of or make any distinction between American/British Freemasonry and Grand Orient Masonry which do not recognize each others' lodges. There are clear differences, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries so he paints them both with the same brush in aligning "Masonry" with organizations like P2 which did not come out of the American/British Masonic tradition.

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12 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

The first part of the book is excellent, even for being written by a non Mason. However, by the time you get 3/4 of the way through the book has degenerated into nothing more than anti Masonic diatribe. It’s another book that blames freemasonry for all of the worlds problems. In the case of this book it blames the craft for colonialism and racism, tearing down such Masonic heroes as Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle and Winston Churchill.

The author barely touches any of the great achievements of brother Freemasons and in most cases they are simply omitted.

If you want to read a study in judging people of the past by today’s standards then this book is for you. If you want a history of Freemasonry than look elsewhere as there are much better and more accurate histories than this.

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7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A must read

A must read for every member of the craft and those that are interested. Well done !!!!

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3 people found this helpful

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amazing history

the author does not hold punches when talking about the dark chapters and characters of the craft, but at the same time, he recognized the intrinsically good values of the fraternity. excellent historical context and storytelling.

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3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Misleading Book Title

This is a very awkward look at what the author claims is the history of the FreeMasons. Very awkward. I don’t recommend it. I likely gave it one star too many. I’m surprised it was published.

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2 people found this helpful

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Just enough truth

This book has just enough truth interwoven with conspiracy and opinion to fool those that want easy answers. The writers biases come out throughout the book. I could not recommend this book to anyone that was seriously wanting to know more about the Freemason’s.

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Woke nonsense

While it started out strong and informative. The author quickly went into full woke nonsense. Other then the few paragraphs about George Washington, the rest was a mumbling rambling deity tribe about how racist and misogynist Freemasons are. which is complete nonsense. if your a brother looking for more light, stay away unless you want to learn about the alot of the irregular and clandestine lodges out there. Mostly he seemed to focus on Italy, France, and some prince hall lodges. but even then he would quickly lose himself in the random facts about one man or women's life and seemed to leave out the millions of dollars everyday masons donate and the hospital, kids, widows, and elderly they have supported over the many many years, and continue to do.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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enjoyed this book very much. highly recommend

as a newly raised Master Mason, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the history to which the world I've joined. answered a few questions that I had asked to myself along the last year. whether you're a Master Mason or not, maybe just interested in the craft, I feel that you would highly enjoy this.

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True knowledge of history

This is a great work to build knowledge and understanding of the history and existence of humanity and parts of it’s beginning in a more relatable timeframe.

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