When I had decided to become a Freemason, and during the first couple of years after joining the craft, I did some research to make sure I was not getting into anything improper or incompatible with my christian faith. Of all the books I looked at, this was far and away the most helpful to me.
Books on freemasonry seem to cover an astonishing range of perspectives, and most of them seem to attract both some reviewers who make comments like "One of the worst books I have ever read" and others who praise the same book to the skies.
Some books attacking Masonry are so extreme that reading them reminds me of the story of two Jewish people in WW2 Europe, one of whom finds the other reading a Nazi propaganda sheet. "Why on earth are you reading that rag?" he asks. "It improves my morale to find out how powerful we are!" comes the reply.
Other books by Masons come over as purely defensive reactions to anti-Masonic conspiracy theorists, and a third group of authors use Masonry as part of thes supporting framework for what appear to be their own religious philosophies, which rarely bear the least resemblance to anything I have ever heard in a Lodge or Chapter meeting.
John Robinson's book was a refreshing change. At the time he wrote it the author was not a freemason, though he made no secret of his sympathy for the organisation and adds at the end of the book that he was about to join. But he had the perspective of a sympathetic outsider who was willing to praise and criticise as he thought appropriate.
He explained in detail some of the misrepresentation, and indeed outright lies and forgeries, which have been used as the basis for attacks on freemasonry by its many enemies, including the papacy, Nazi Germany, and the American Religious right.
The book is also very accessible and easy to understand.