Can the ancestry of freemasonry really be traced back to the Knights Templar? Is the image of the eye in a triangle on the back of the dollar bill one of its cryptic signs? Is there a conspiracy that stretches through centuries and generations to align this shadow organization and its secret rituals to world governments and religions? Myths persist and abound about the freemasons, Margaret C. Jacob notes. But what are their origins? How has an early modern organization of bricklayers and stonemasons aroused so much public interest? In 'The Origins of Freemasonry,' Jacob throws back the veil from a secret society that turns out not to have been very secret at all.