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Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,001 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Its mysterious symbols and rituals had been used in secret for centuries before Freemasonry revealed itself in London in 1717. Once known, Freemasonry spread throughout the world and attracted kings, emperors, and statesmen to take its sacred oaths. It also attracted great revolutionaries such as George Washington and Sam Houston in America, Juarez in Mexico, Garibaldi in ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published September 16th 2009 by M. Evans and Company (first published November 15th 1989)
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3.92  · 
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 ·  1,001 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Tyler Anderson
Mar 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freemasonry
I tracked down this book at the recommendation of the Tyler at my Lodge. We were talking just before my 3rd Degree, and I was asking him about books about Masonry, what I might read that had a lower level of mystical BS than the usual fare. This was the title that came foremost to his mind, and so within a few days I had pinned it down at a local bookstore.

Our Tyler (yeah, it causes confusion) said it wasn't a perfect book, and I agree. But I also agree that it follows far fewer flights of far-
Jan 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, freemasonry
Convincing take on the connection between Freemasonry and Knights Templar. I have to admit, this book sold me on it. I definitely think the connection makes more sense than all of the other theories propounded thus far about Freemasonry. The book felt objective and fair and without the usual dose of paranoia that tends to follow Freemasonry.

This book led me to conclude that Freemasonry is bit a like a shadow or anti-thesis of the Catholic church. In the sense that if in fact there is a connecti
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Born in Blood must be one of the most well researched book on Freemasonry that I have ever read. The author, John J. Robinson was NOT a Freemason when he began his research and writing quest, and was given completely open access to the Freemason library to complete his research on the single condition that he write a "fair and accurate" depiction of the Freemasons.

I believe he accomplished just that. Although John Robinson does tend to ramble at times and often makes the same points repeatedly,
Kelly Feldcamp
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freemasonry
There are plenty of theories out there about the origins and purposes of Freemasonry. This volume does a terrific job of putting the facts together and creating a convincing argument tying Freemasonry to the Knights Templar. I'm not fully convinced the connection is there, but it's still a pretty cool theory.

Much of the imagery, secret signs and ritualization supports this theory as do many of the historical events which occurred between the demise of the Order of the Knights Templar on Friday,
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freemasonry
A Work of Brilliant Scholarship, Engagingly Written

In "Born in Blood," John J. Robinson, an avocational historian and medievalist, makes a patiently reasoned and thoroughly documented re-appraisal of the Peasant's Revolt of 1381 in England (known popularly as Wat Tyler's Rebellion) and emerges with a truly convincing demonstration of the sub rosa connections between the Templar order, the Wat Tyler uprising and the foundations of Freemasonry.

It had for long been thought that this popular revolt
Sep 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-history
Interesting argument that attempts to tie the origins of Free Masonry to the Knights Templar. The author presents a strong argument and challenges other histories of the origins and purpose of the Free Masons. Robinson does a pretty good job of arguing that the Knights Templar were broken by a conspiracy backed by the Catholic Church. But, since England was partially broken away from Catholocism, and Scotland even more so, the British Isles provided safe haven for the Templars, although undergro ...more
Aug 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Merilee by: My muses.
This is my absolute favorite non-fiction book. I have been facinated by Masonic lore probably since I saw the movie "The Man Who Would Be King," (reminding me I should read that book), and with "Born in Blood" feel I have found the Holy Grail of Masonic mystery unveiled. Though it is non-fiction, historical research material, the author is adept at weaving an amazing and simultaneously convincing story of matching connections through research, intuition and serendipity. Along the way he peppers ...more
Apr 14, 2012 rated it liked it
The title of this book was a bit misleading to me. "Born in Blood" infers a sinister and murderous founding of Freemasonry. In fact, the book is rather positive about the Masons while holding onto its partiality (the author is not a Mason).

What the title refers to is the Peasant Revolt of the 14th century and the unjust butchering of the Knights Templar, and how these events coincided with the founding of Freemasonry. Linking up these historical happenings is the interesting parts of the book.
A very fun book masquerading as an academic endeavor. Especially enjoyable if you like breathlessly related gossip, but only about prominent historical figures, or are curious about what people did in 1350 a.d. before they had cable and had to make their own fun (crusades and grisly torture were popular). Oh yeah, also Masons. The Masons finally show up about half way thought and then it starts to get kinda boring. of note: the author was not employed in any academic capacity during his life, wh ...more
Aug 09, 2012 rated it liked it
This book, with certainty, falls into the category of “speculative” or “alternative” history. However, even alternative histories are built on interpretations of accepted histories. Robinson offers a very interesting history of the Peasants War, suggesting possible Templar ties to the uprising. He moves to suggest that there existed a connection between the post-Templar society of the Peasant War and the pre-Grand Lodge traditions of Freemasonry. Again, speculative in its historical assumptions, ...more
G.M. Burrow
Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Robinson's thesis (which he defends mystery-novel style through a gripping historical tour) is that Freemasonry was born in the ashes of the Knights Templar order when the Knights were forced to go underground. I haven't read an ounce of Freemason stuff elsewhere, but based on Robinson's proof, I'd buy it. And since I read this primarily to get an idea of what secret organizations are like, I could easily ignore his out-to-lunch vision of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity coming together in one h ...more
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freemasonry
If you've ever been interested in the Freemasons or are simply interested in the history of it all, this is the book to read. Very simple to understand, yet very informative.
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went into this book thinking it'd be a dense piece of speculation about the origins of the most (in)famous secret societies. Instead, I was delighted by the author's clarity and the swift, no-nonsense prose that delivers the facts first and light speculation later. I learned so much about England and Scotland in the 14th century, as well as Freemasonry in general, from this book.

The book benefits immensely from Robinson's mix of academic factualness and minimal prose style. It was easy to sta
The thesis that the Freemasonry stems from the persecuted Knights Templar is interesting, not unbelievable. The thesis however could have been spelled out and sold to the reader in circa 100 pages. It is, however, wrapped in chapter upon chapter (400 pages) of only thinly related detailed (political) history of several different eras and ditto countries. Without the shred of a footnote it's not a scholarly work by any means of the word, but the writing has pace and tension and is easily consumed ...more
Patrice Maynard
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a clear and compelling description of historical events linking the Knights Templar and the Freemasons, following a trail of difficult to identify but authentic information following the peasant uprising in England in 1381. This might sound like "ancient" history but the author brings it right up in to contemporary times in telling the story of the impact those original connections have. This is well worth a read!! Good stuff! Good story telling!

Mike Day
This was a good book, not great. I liked the first 200 pages, but the last 100 pages was meandering and repetitive. I will say that the final conclusion was well done. Robinson made some good points: Freemasonry came from somewhere, and it wasn't the construction trades. It had to have roots in a time when men were in fear for their lives from a power so great that caused them to go underground to preserve their very lives. His conclusions made sense to me.
If well the book it's focused in the relationship between the templars and freemasons, the idea of just focusing on the British Isles and not the rest of Europe -As if freemasonry was a "British phenomenon"- and the lack of references to "Old Charges" (manuscript Cooke, Dumfries, etc.) an the omission of historical documents like "De Templo Salomonis Liber" of Saint Bede the Venerable in my humble opinion, I find them absolutely unpresentables.
Dec 13, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The book obviously belongs to the alternative-history, it has arguments but it lacks documentations to prove them; it can be an occultist book, but not a historical/reliable book. Bibliography is too small and there are no evidences to prove his thesis.
Robert Jr.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good telling of the Knights Templar history.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read

Doesn't go into conspiracies but gives a good account of the history of freemasons. I would recommend this if you are interested in the history of freemasons.
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Enjoyed the book from start to finish!!! I recommend the book to anyone interested in the Templar Knights and Freemasonry.
James Musker
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book about the Templars and allied groups. A lot of History, some suppositions...
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: masonry
This is a very interesting book. Instead of the hyped-up conspiracy-theory potboiler I'd expected, Robinson presents a series of historical, religious, and linguistic data which strongly support the hypothesis that Freemasons emerged not from the Stone Masons guilds of the Middle Ages, but as a secret mutual protection society in the aftermath of the bloody destruction of the Knights Templar.

Robinson tells us that he didn't start out to investigate the roots of Freemasonry, but that various una
Doug Hocking
I read this years ago. Typically, Freemasons love and believe every word, which is not to say they aren't true. It presents the idea that the Freemasons developed out of the Knights Templar when they were proscribed by the Catholic Church. Their wealth, their fleet and knights disappeared everywhere except in France. The Pope was then at Avignon in France and it's unclear whether he dictated to the king of France or the king to the Pope. Either way they worked together. The Pope's edict was obey ...more
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A somewhat decent history of Freemasonry, if you need a primer. Mostly a concise history of Medieval European History, if you need a primer in that. The links the author shows between Freemasonry and the Templars are pretty questionable. I think the icon on the book cover explains it best. The author notes that if you put lines across the square and compass, you end up with the Star of David, which is a Jewish symbol, and the Temple of Solomon is a really important temple to ancient Jews, and WH ...more
Noah Stacy
Interesting, with a fairly persuasive argument linking the historical Templars and the present-day Freemasons. I skipped the last few chapters--as someone who isn't and can't become a Mason, and who has no particular prejudice against them (my father and both grandfathers are/were Masons, and I would be interested if I weren't an atheist), they were of limited interest to me.

Some homophobic attitudes from the author come through in the discussion of Edward II, and he plainly has little time for
Chuck Springer
Feb 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading the authors speculations on the connection between the Knights Templar and Freemasonry. While he did present many interesting and compelling arguments, his lack of solid evidence is a major stumbling block. The author did admit that some of his conclusions are unsubstantiated, which I felt increased credibility to his objectivity. I discovered that later he did join the fraternity. Unfortunately, he passed away before he was able to issue an updated/corrected edition to this bo ...more
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ever heard the theory that Freemasons are descendants of the suppressed Knights Templar? In this book, John Robinson uses circumstantial evidence to build such a case. Although speculative, the book is a well-written fascinating read. Toward the end of the book, Robinson demolishes the anti-Masonic arguments made by Stephen Knight in the book "The Brotherhood." He also points out that Americans should thank Freemasonry for the freedom of religion they enjoy. Many of America's Founding Fathers we ...more
Christian West
This book claims to be a history of the Freemasons. I know very little about the Freemasons, but I know it differs from the commonly 'known' history. The author's argument that the modern Freemason movement descended from the Knight's Templar is quite convincing. He does go through a lot of European and British history (which was a bit of a drag) but it all ended up tying in to his central point.
I didn't enjoy the final chapter where the author criticises another book. I didn't think it worked
Charles Ward
This book is much like reading a creationist's attack on evolution. While Robinson does a decent job of poking holes in the "transition" theory of Freemasonry, what he fills them with is fantasy and speculation. He does provide an excellent primer on the English Peasant Revolution and the Scottish fight for independence, and he deserves credit for defending Freemasonry against some of the silly "Satanic" and other charges it faces. But his rope tying Masonry to the Knights templar is very frayed ...more
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John J. Robinson was an American author and historian, best known as the author of Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry, which was originally intended as a book about the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, but instead traced the fall of the Knights Templar, which he connected to the rise of Freemasonry. As a result of his research for this book, he became more interested in Freemasonry and subseq ...more
“focusing blame, painting pictures of the better life possible, stirring the pot to the boiling point. Their hope is to turn distress and frustration into anger, to turn anger into action, then to provide the plans and leadership to divert and direct that angry action, with a view to taking ultimate control. We have seen this pattern used effectively and often in recent history. Unfortunately, Wat Tyler was cut down before his demands were made clear, so we may never be able to clearly pinpoint the goals of the Great Society, or its true leadership.” 0 likes
“(The modern chess player's cry of "Checkmate!" is a corruption of the Persian "Shakh Mat!" which translates, "The king is dead!")” 0 likes
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