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God and His Demons Hardcover – March 23, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Anyone looking for a catalogue of religion's darkest moments will find it in this angry volume by the Berkeley-based cultural critic and activist. A New Atheist in the mold of Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins, Parenti spares no adjectives in describing the evils of religion, be it creationism or televangelists. He claims he does not want to destroy other people's beliefs and that his book is not addressed to religious progressives, whom he finds tolerable. But he writes about religion, whether Christianity or Islam, with unconcealed scorn and derision. Parenti makes no clear argument, nor does his polemic offer an introduction or conclusion. Instead it might be understood as a call to arms against what he calls religionists the world over. He complains that progressive dissidents usually are denied access to mass media audiences, a charge that might confound his publisher and the industry that has made leading New Atheists household names. His condescending tirade is directed not so much at religion as at human beings whom—one gets the impression—he can barely suffer. (Mar.)
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Review

"God and His Demons is filled with sparkling insights, sly wit, and beautiful writing of a kind we have come to expect from Michael Parenti. He strips away the virtuous pretenses of self-proclaimed religionists throughout the world, and he does it with evidence and arguments that are historically and biblically informed. A riveting read that I recommend to all." --Julia Scheeres, author of Jesus Land

"Michael Parenti's God and His Demons is wonderfully irreverent, institutionally challenging, and humanizingly relevant -- a recommended read for believers, agnostics and atheists." --Peter Phillips, professor of pociology, Sonoma State University, editor of Project Censored yearbooks

"God and His Demons picks apart the teachings and practices of organized religions with characteristic wit, humor, and incision: vintage Parenti." --Jacques R. Pauwels, author of The Myth of the Good War and Beneath the Dust of Time.

"Pharisees and charlatans beware. In God and His Demons, veteran scholar Michael Parenti turns pen to sword with acumen and rapier wit; slaying the sacred cows of organized religions. God and His Demons is vintage Parenti. A great book, much needed, which will hopefully be widely read. Parenti defiles the true religious defilers like no one else can -- with stunning underreported facts, a wry smile, and world-class wit." --Mickey Huff, associate professor of history, Diablo Valley College, co-editor of Censored 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 281 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; 1st edition (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616141778
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616141776
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Publishers Weekly attack of Parenti posted above is noticeably ad hominem, a hit piece if ever there was one. Hiding behind his anonymity, the critic calls Parenti a "New Atheist" (whatever that is). In fact Parenti comes across more as an agnostic, unwilling to rule out beneficial forms of religious experience.
--We are told that "Parenti spares no adjectives in describing the evils of religion." This makes him sound like some kind of name-caller. More than adjectives Parenti gives a deep appraisal of theocratic abuse, past and present.
--The PW critic says the book is an "angry volume" a "condescending tirade" written with "unconcealed scorn and derision." In fact, this book is written in a clear and cool tone, nuanced and precise, though indeed it covers some terrible things that can make anyone angry.
--The PW anonymous critic says the book has no introduction and no conclusion. In fact the book has a well-written and thoughtful introduction and conclusion.
--As part of the critic's name-calling strategy, Parenti is described as little more than a "Berkeley-based . . . activist." Actually Parenti is an internationally acclaimed scholar and award winning author.
--The PW critic speculates that Parenti not only cannot bear religion but human beings in general. But the book offers a humanistic message and takes many compassionate stances against the abuses delivered upon the afflicted, showing a real concern for human beings.
--Not once does the review mention what Parenti is really critiquing; it's not religion as such but oppressive theocracy! And he does it brilliantly. The reader will find this book intriguing and engaging and will be informed by every page of it.
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Format: Hardcover
Anytime one can pick up Parenti's most recent book they should jump at the chance. Every few years when a new one of his comes out it's a gift to anyone who cherishes beautiful writing, intellectual rigor and top notch socio-political analysis. In this particular case Dr. Parenti turns his talents and breadth of knowledge toward dissecting and attacking the religio-nonsense and Christian right blowhards who have far too much power in America today.

Obviously God and His Demons does not disappoint. It easily holds up Parenti's well earned status as an internationally respected scholar and cultural critic. Using his trademark wit and world renowned research skills he brings it all to the table as he skewers to the third degree the proselytizers, hucksters, hypocrites and religious moneybags who turn the stomachs of those who adhere to principles of rational thought and social justice.

Over the past several years a handful of good books have been published by some decent progressive thinkers that address the religious right and Christian power brokers in a thoughtful and critical manner. Parenti's God and His Demons is now at the top of this list and will very likely remain as a significant work on the topic for generations to come. It's a book that future scholars and curious laymen will brush off in order to get the full picture of just what exactly was going on in the pews, pulpits, televangelist studios and halls of Congress at the turn of the millennium.
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Format: Hardcover
God And His Demons is a analysis of organized religion from an historical, theological, social and political perspective. Parenti is a progressive scholar, but free of dogma and jargon. It is written with passion, eloquence, and wit.
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Format: Hardcover
Michael Parenti's God and His Demons is an extraordinary study of both the practices of some of the world's leading religious leaders, past and present, and the "sacred" texts upon which their practices have rested. The study is remarkable in several respects. Let's look at each in turn.

First is the shear breath and depth of the subject matter and its management. Parenti walks the reader through important themes in both the Old and New Testaments, elements of the Koran, and Buddhist doctrine, with special attention given to Tibetan Buddhism. Along the way we encounter a panoply of iconic figures such as - to name just a few - Pope John XXIII, John Paul II, Martin Luther, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Archbishop Romero, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, Randal Terry, Mark Foley and the heavy hitters - Jesus, Muhammad, and the Dalai Lama. A host of US presidents make appearances and even such loathsome but religiously inspired characters such as Adolf Hitler, Timothy McVeigh, J. Edgar Hoover, the Hunt brothers and Jim and Tammy Faye find their way into Parenti's tale.

In addition to leading personalities we come to know a divergent range of organizations such as the Catholic Workers, the American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace, Unitarian Universalists, the Church of Scientology, the Mormon Church, the National Association of Evangelicals, Jehovah's Witness - again, to name just a few. The role of the US federal government (the White House, Congress and such agencies as FEMA) does not escape Parenti's critical gaze, nor does the American doctrine of separation of church and state or lack thereof.
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