Volume LIIIMay 2006Number 2

Masonic Book Reviews
by Cathy Giaimo, Assistant Librarian, The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania

As most Masons are aware, one can never get too much information about Freemasonry, but the trick is getting the correct information. The Library recently acquired two new books that should be helpful to all interested in the "how" and "why" of the fraternity.

With the popularity of the "Dummies" books, it was only a matter of time before someone wrote one in that familiar format on Freemasonry. Hence the book, "Freemasons for Dummies," written by Christopher Hodapp, Past Master and Knight Templar, as noted on the cover. Bro. Hodapp does a commendable job of explaining the many facets of Freemasonry and its history and answers questions that people have asked in an easy-to-read format, with a touch of humor.

Bro. Hodapp has divided the book into six parts, such as "What is Freemasonry?," "The Mechanics of Freemasonry" and "Freemasonry Today and Tomorrow," among other subject headings. Each chapter includes bullet points, illustrations and interesting side stories relative to the chapter. The best part about "Freemasons for Dummies" is that the reader can pick out a chapter of interest, such as "The Ceremonies of Freemasons," and read it without feeling they missed something by skipping the earlier chapters. It is an easy reference book to use that most Masons and their family members would find most helpful.

The second book, "Masonic Questions and Answers" by Bro. Paul M. Bessel, has been adapted from three booklets from the Grand Lodge of Virginia and may be of interest to anyone curious about rituals outside Pennsylvania's jurisdiction. Bro. Bessel has included a chapter for each degree (Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason), with questions and answers that are appropriate for Virginia ritual. This book can be used in a group, with the answers as starting points for discussion. The book also contains helpful information in the appendixes, such as Masonic e-groups and lists available on the Internet, Masonic abbreviations, Masonic book publishers and sellers and a list of U.S. national appendant Masonic bodies, among others.

To check out these books and many others available from the Circulating Library, go to www.pagrandlodge.org and make a request, or call 1-800-462-0430, Ext. 1933, to answer any of your questions.

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