The Secrets of Solomon’s Temple by Kevin
Gest, Lewis Masonic, £16.99 hardcover.
This is a remarkable book, not least for the
extensive architectural as well as historical
and Masonic content on the only building
mentioned in detail in the Bible, and which
has never been found.
But it sits at the heart of the Masonic
story, and if anyone – Mason or not – is
looking for a definite textbook on the
subject, then Kevin Gest has certainly
provided it in this impressive volume.
Indeed, perhaps there is too much
information in it, and this may deter some
readers, but it can be read from almost any
chapter, and with the author having spent
12 years in researching his book, there is
plenty to feast the inquisitive mind.
Such fascinating chapters as that entitled
The Knights Templar legacy and a new
Hiram Abif – a revered figure in Masonic
ceremony – and The Secret of Solomon’s
Seal, give an indication of some of the
intriguing issues that Kevin Gest has
explored in his researches. By mixing
architecture, mathematics, fable, conjecture,
Freemasonry and fact into this volume,
the author has managed to keep the
attention of the reader riveted.
King Solomon remains one of the giant
figures of the Bible, his temple a building of
fascination to many, and this book is a bold
attempt to put it into some context.
AUTHOR OF THE QUARTER
What do you feel made The First Day
on the Somme such a success?|
I believe it was because for the first
time in British military history, the
experiences of the ordinary soldiers of
both sides formed the main subject of
the book – all obtained by considerable
expense and time that the formal
historians do not have to expend.
You have written on a wide range
of topics, which one fascinates you
I have written 16 books on four aspects
of conflict. The two main ones are the
Western Front in 1914–1918 and the
bombing war in 1939–1945. Smaller
amounts of time were spent on the sea
war of 1939–1945, Arnhem, and the
Falklands War of 1982.
Of outstanding interest to me of the
above was the Western Front. I feel that
what happened there and its aftereffects
dominates the history of the 20th
century, at least as far as the western
world is concerned.
Do you have any advice for aspiring
Read everything you can on the subject
in which you intend to specialise. Decide
what is useful and what is rubbish (there
is a lot of it). Then research in prime
sources and do not simply do the lazy
library research that characterises so
many ‘new’ books.
What is the story behind The North
Midlands Territorials Go To War?
The North Midlands Territorials Go To
War is the story of a local Territorial
officer and his family, originally entitled
Captain Staniland’s Journey, but Pen
and Sword said they would publish it
if I would expand the subject matter to
conform to the new title. The ‘Journey’
was the unusual story of how his body
was taken to be buried near that of his
brother, who had been killed elsewhere
a few weeks earlier. It all started by my
asking a friend of my wife: ‘Jane, why
is your house called Lindenhoek?’
Lindenhoek was a crossroads where
the lady’s father-in-law had met the
transport carrying the body and then
took it on to be buried. Captain
Staniland was the commander of the
Boston Company of the Lincolnshire
Territorials. My uncle was one of his
men. He died a few weeks later.
I consider my serious writing career
ended with Arnhem 1944, published
in 1994. Your Country Needs You and
the Staniland book were whimsical
afterthoughts that did not require the
extensive research and travelling which
my wife had patiently endured for more
than 30 years. (She married a potato
merchant who became a poultry farmer
who became a military historian who
became a battlefield tour operator –
usually with at least two activities
Who are your favourite authors?
I enjoy C. S. Forester, Thomas Keneally
and Patrick O’Brian and any wellwritten
personal memoir of a 1914–
1918 and 1939–1945 participant.
Which book are you currently reading?
The Road Past Mandalay – the personal
experiences of the (later) author John
Masters when he served as a British
officer in the Indian Army in the Burma
Campaign in the Second World War. I
have a limited personal library of such
personal memoir books and I usually
read them all every ten years or so. I
don’t read modern fiction, particularly
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