Inside the Brotherhood, by Martin Short

March 25, 2011 at 20:59 (Book Reviews, Crime and Law Enforcement, Highly Rated Books) (, , , , , )

8/10

Any book that brands itself as an expose is hardly going to treat its subject in a fair way, and Martin Short is largely hostile from the outset. This book is laid out not like a neutral investigation, but like a serious and very earnest prosecution. Note that it is a prosecution, not a persecution. Short does his level best to write from properly accredited sources, and he provides limited biographies for most of the men and women he interviews. He blatantly borrows much of his strongest materials from Stephen Knight, and acknowledges his debt to Knight repeatedly, almost turning the other researcher as a kind of martyr in the battle against Freemasonry.

And it is a battle; make no mistake on that count. Whereas many investigative authors begin from a carefully nuanced viewpoint and work towards exoneration or accusation, Short begins at accusation and grows steadily more vitriolic. His arguments are convincing and eloquent at the beginning of the book: his assertion, for instance, that Freemasonry and Christianity (or any other religion) are incompatible is all the stronger for his own ambivalence towards various faiths. His delvings into the sordid dealings of various political figures are almost always linked strongly with their transgressions as Freemasons, and their corruptions based on their prior loyalties to Freemasonry, rather than simply hunting down evil men who happen to be Freemasons on the side.

This book falls apart a little about two-thirds of the way through, when Short seems to run out of material. He abandons his careful and scholarly approach, but keeps his level of vim and vinegar high, and consequently many of his later arguments bear the impression of a grudge without facts to support it, or of angry rumourmongering. While this later lapse is disappointing, it in no way lessens the impact of his very successful denouncement of a dangerous and frightening cult.

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