Freemasonry and the Press in the Twentieth Century
Summary of the book
This book which is in effect a wide-ranging history of Freemasonry in modern times examines the way in which the organisation was portrayed in the national press in England and Wales during the twentieth-century.
It considers how and why the public image (as distinct from the internal image) of Freemasonry changed from that of a highly-respected élite organisation, at the centre of public life in 1900, to a position on the fringes in the 1990s, regarded by many people with suspicion and disapproval.
This important book describes how the press conveyed positive news about the organisation during the first 40 years of the twentieth-century, and concludes that the change in public regard for Freemasonry which occurred during the twentieth-century was due, mainly - but not solely - to Masonic withdrawal from the public sphere.
In England and Wales, Freemasonry's reluctance to engage with the media after 1936 until the mid 1980s powerfully assisted its critics, who grew in strength significantly as a result of developments within the media and the churches.
It is also important to note that throughout this period, "Conspiracy culture" remained strong, rendering the privacy/secrecy of Freemasonry a major handicap to public understanding.
This book by Paul Calderwood is one of the most important and detailed volumes to be produced for scholars of Freemasonry for a long time and it should certainly be a standard addition to every Masonic library both in this country and throughout the world. I have no hesitation in recommending it to all those interested in Masonic history in general and its relationship with the press in particular.
Dr John Wade, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum Vol 128
A major book, it is very readable and full of fascinating facts and figures.....I would encourage everyone with an interest in our relationship with the press to consider getting this excellent work.
Robert Bashford, Irishfreemasonry.com
To the serious masonic scholar and those interested in the wider social history of modern Britain it is an absolute goldmine as a source of material.