Solomon's Builders
Freemasons, Founding Fathers and the Secrets of Washington, D.C.

Christopher Hodapp

Sometimes online he'll refer to himself as a 'Dummy' but his "Freemasons for Dummies" book has received the acclaim that belies that moniker. With this work, Chris shows that he's not a one-trick pony either.

Confessions first: Chris and I have shared a few sporadic e-mails, most recently at the death of Wor. Bro. Dave Bosworth, a friend from Indiana and a founding member of Lodge Vitruvian - a European 'concept' lodge - which Chris is (at the time of this review) is serving as Master. He's also given me credit for correctly tracking down the reasons why Leonardo DiCaprio was erroneously listed as a Mason in his 'Dummies' book which is scant compensation for him having beat me (and about 500 other Masons) to the gate with the completion of such a work. {weak grin}

With this book, he again takes the lead and addresses - in advance - the 'buzz' that surrounds the presumed topics of Dan Brown (DaVinci Code) in his forthcoming work of, ostensibly, the same title and rumored to be centered around Freemasons and Washington, D.C.

He begins with an easy-to-understand history, reviewing how Freemasonry came to be. Never allowing himself to be swayed by theories, he nevertheless presents 'all the options' so that the reader will understand 'whence we came'. In particular, I found his simplified explanation of the Middle Ages to be thoughtful and well-applied. It's amazing how so many of the basic things we learned in school so long ago can be given sharp focus with the pen of the right author.

When I first picked up this book, I flipped through it observing the chapter titles and the way the content was laid out. It seemed jarring and oddly spastic. However, when I actually started reading, the book moved from topic to topic with an beguiling ease. When Chris would hit a topic that I'd studied and written on here, I was pleased to find additional 'tidbits' that built on what I'd found. There's no 'tip of the hat' to this site in the book so I'd like to think that 'great minds run along the same channels' or something. Regrettably, that would be a delusion on my part as Bro. Hodapp has so effortlessly proven. He is practiced in brevity with understanding, unlike this scribe who is FAR too wordy without question. I must also add that this is the first book about Freemasonry I've ever encountered with the word "smackdown" (definition here if you're 40 or older!) in the text. It's refreshing - and it will certainly appeal to a younger generation new to the fraternity as a result of its comprehensive, easy-reading style. Unlike so many of the current 'Hiram Key-style' books, this one has FACTS rather than the author's opinions and assumptions. In the rare cases when an opinion is offered, it's noted as such and explained. I didn't see one single instance where it was used (as some others have done) to build further hypotheses.

There's only one problem with this book: it won't do what it's supposed to do! The hype that will surround a new Dan Brown novel will totally overshadow the facts that Chris has presented in this excellent work. Nevertheless, all Masons should get this book and read it now. They'll find that they will be better able to talk about Freemasonry and will be ready with answers when their friends and neighbors ask about all of Washington's generals being Masons.

Oh: and since I'd found a 'people' error in his first book - and despite his disclaimer saying that us nit-pickers would likely find SOMETHING - I'd note that it wasn't "...the teenaged Bill Gates tinkering in his garage to create what seemed a useless and overblown widget to the average person, this forthcoming "gadget"...." Sorry, Chris: Bill Gates didn't invent a 'gadget'. He's the guy who tinkered at Harvard with a software program. Methinks you meant that other multi-zillionaire, Steve Jobs...??? But hey: since neither are Masons and won't likely be part of the upcoming novel, we'll let it pass! <Grin>

Buy this book: you won't regret it!

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