Christopher Hitchens is a widely published polemicist and frequent radio and TV commentator. He is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a visiting professor of liberal studies at the New School in New York.
In November 2006, Wired magazine published an article called "The Church of the Non-Believers," which profiled the new atheism movement along with its proponents: the formidable Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett. Missing from this erudite lineup was the learned Hitchens, journalist and contributing editor to Vanity Fair. Fortunately, Hitchens disseminates his views here, cataloging the major arguments against religion, which he deems a pernicious force. First, he writes, faith misrepresents the origin of the cosmos as well as that of humanity; second, it fosters servility, solipsism, and sexual repression; and, third, it is based on wishful thinking. Hitchens spares no targets in this manifesto, criticizing both Western and Eastern faiths. Ultimately, he calls for a "New Enlightenment" and the pursuit of "unfettered scientific inquiry." This provocative, challenging, and passionate work--a religious believer's and apologist's nightmare--is recommended without reservation for public and academic libraries.--C. Brian Smith, Arlington Heights Memorial Lib., IL Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Hitchens, one of our great political pugilists, delivers the best of the recent rash of atheist manifestos. The same contrarian spirit that makes him delightful reading as a political commentator, even (or especially) when he's completely wrong, makes him an entertaining huckster prosecutor once he has God placed in the dock. And can he turn a phrase!: "monotheistic religion is a plagiarism of a plagiarism of a hearsay of a hearsay, of an illusion of an illusion, extending all the way back to a fabrication of a few nonevents." Hitchens's one-liners bear the marks of considerable sparring practice with believers. Yet few believers will recognize themselves as Hitchens associates all of them for all time with the worst of history's theocratic and inquisitional moments. All the same, this is salutary reading as a means of culling believers' weaker arguments: that faith offers comfort (false comfort is none at all), or has provided a historical hedge against fascism (it mostly hasn't), or that "Eastern" religions are better (nope). The book's real strength is Hitchens's on-the-ground glimpses of religion's worst face in various war zones and isolated despotic regimes. But its weakness is its almost fanatical insistence that religion poisons "everything," which tips over into barely disguised misanthropy. (May 30) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
"[Hitchens] has somehow turned out an atheist book that, whatever one's stance on divine providence, is thoroughly enjoyable...in its profane interrogation of the sacred, [it] achieves a kind of joyous impudence...His narrative leans briskly and unrelentingly forward, subverting an unsettling all kinds of complacencies, religious and otherwise."--Joseph Rago, Wall Street Journal "[An] impressive and enjoyable attack on everything so many people hold dear... Hitchens has outfoxed the Hitchens watchers by writing a serious and deeply felt book, totally consistent with his beliefs of a lifetime. And God should be flattered: unlike most of those clamoring for his attention, Hitchens treats him like an adult."--New York Times Book Review "If God intended reasonable men and women to worship Him without embarrassment, why did He create Christopher Hitchens? It was a fatal miscalculation. In God Is Not Great, Hitchens not only demonstrates that religion is man-made -- and made badly -- he laughs the whole monstrosity to rubble. This is a profoundly clever book, addressing the most pressing social issue of our time, by one of the finest writers in the land." "--"Sam Harris, Author of the New York Times bestsellers The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation "Noted, often acerbic journalist Hitchens enters the fray. As his subtitle indicates, his premise is simple. Not only does religion poison everything, which he argues by explaining several ways in which religion is immoral, but the world would be better off without religion. ... With such chapter titles as "Religion Kills" and "Is Religion Child Abuse?" Hitchens intends to provoke, but he is not mean-spirited and humorless. Indeed, he is effortlessly witty and entertaining as well as utterly rational." " -- Booklist "** starred review** "Do yourself a favor and skip the Dawkins and Harris; they're smug, turgid, and boring, with all the human feeling of a tax return. Read Hitchens instead. Test your faith severely or find a champion for your feelings, but read Hitchens. It's a tendentious delight, a caustic and even brilliant book. And with the title alone, he takes his life in his hands, which right there has got to be some proof of his thesis. And so, thank God for Christopher Hitchens." --"Esquire" "Hitchens, one of our great political pugilists, delivers the best of the recent rash of atheist manifestos. The same contrarian spirit thatmakes him delightful reading as a political commentator, even (or especially) when he's completely wrong, makes him an entertaining huckster prosecutor once he has God placed in the dock. Hitchens's one-liners bear the marks of considerable sparring practice with believers.... this is salutary reading as a means of culling believers' weaker arguments." --"Publishers Weekly " Praise for Christopher Hitchens: "America's foremost literary pugilist." --"The Village Voice" "From the Hardcover edition."