This is a beautifully illustrated book. The dust jacket is the colorful Allyn Cox mural of "George Washington Laying the Cornerstone for the National Capitol." Its hard to believe this is available for only $19 and change.
The author's expertise as a Museum curator is readily apparent, as looking through this book is like walking through a comprehensive museum of American Freemasonry. The pages are filled with photos of old Masonic prints, glassware, Knight Templar swords, fraternal regalia, ceramics, jewels and medallions, embroidered banners, stained glass windows, old postcards of Masonic Temples and Lodge buildings, stage settings and costumes, pocket watches, Masonic furniture, altars, working tools and trestleboards. Its a visual treat.
However, the best thing about this book is that it is without a doubt the best book on the market to explain the history of American Freemasonry to both the Mason and non-Mason alike. For the Mason, it will introduce him to many aspects of Masonic history that he was not aware of. For the non-Mason, it will give him or her a comprehensive view from Freemasonry's beginnings in Europe, through the American Revolution, up to the present day.
Unafraid to venture into the controversial, Tabbert even has a chapter that deals with the anti-Masonic period of the late 1820's and 1830's, as well as the fundamentalist anti-Masonry of the 1990's.
If some have felt that Tabbert is an apologist for the Masonic fraternity, it is only because he, as a historian, has not added to the mass of nonsense written by anti-Masons and conspiracy theorists. As a professional Museum curator, Tabbert has stuck to historical facts and that will naturally place his book on a higher plane than many of the more sensational books on the subject.
A well-documented work, the book has 31 pages of endnotes and references which provide a wealth of additional information for the serious reader.
This is one of the most highly recommended books on American Freemasonry to come available in the last decade.