How fitting, that with so much history happening before our very eyes, my inaugural book review should deal with history and politics! The Question of Freemasonry and the Founding Fathers by David Barton was a quick and easy (and very interesting) read. For me, this book served as a very informative introduction to Freemasonry (of which I was completely ignorant) as well as an answer key to several questions that I had in regards to our Founding Fathers and the influence of Freemasonry in the formation of our great country.
What I learned, in short, was a brief history of Freemasonry including how its was introduced in America (mainly as military lodges in which both officers and enlisted men could socialize without regard to rank or class) and how it has changed since the time of the Founding Fathers (the blood oaths and degrees of rank were added between 1820-1845, after many of the Founders were dead, and these things also caused a mass exodus of Christians from the lodges, leading to many of the pagan beliefs adopted by Freemasonry today). I also learned exactly which Founding Fathers were Masons (only a maximum of 9% of the Founding Fathers had any connection with Masonry, and only 5% of them were documented members), and I learned the exact extent of their involvement (George Washington, during 3 decades of membership, attended only 4 Masonic events! Oh, and by the way, all of those paintings of him in Masonic garb – bogus!). Also included in the book were chapters on the symbolism of the Great Seal and on our currency as well as on the relationship between Freemasonry and Christianity during those early days.
The author, David Barton, has one of America’s largest private libraries concerning the Founding Fathers, containing some 70,000 documents pre-dating the year 1812. This has allowed him to supply the strongest testimony in a case concerning the Founding Fathers – their own! The book is packed with quotes from the Founding Fathers and their contemporaries, and every argument that the author makes is well-researched and documented (there are over 300 footnotes).
Overall, The Question of Freemasonry and the Founding Fathers is a well-written and easy-to-understand book. Containing just ten chapters with a total of 116 pages, you could easily finish reading this book in a week by reading 1-2 chapters a night; however, I find it hard to believe that if you pick it up, you’ll be able to put it back down. This “meat-lover’s special” gets a rating of 4 toppings!