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Letters from an Atheist Nation: Godless Voices of America in 1903 Paperback – December 13, 2011

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"I very rarely read nonfiction, so it takes a very good nonfiction book to hold my attention. I can't praise this book enough." -'s "Cannonball Read IV"

"Its real value reminding us that freethinking isn't a recent invention but a longstanding and proud part of the American story. In that respect, it's another part of our answer to history-blind apologists who are nostalgic for a past golden age of universal Christianity that never actually existed." - Daylight Atheism 

From the Inside Flap

"By his own closest colleagues' admission, the preacher-turned-infidel Charles Chilton Moore could be, and often was, one rough old Kentucky cob. Certainly he was to newsprint what his friend Watson Heston was to art. Even so, with his Blue Grass Blade newspaper, Moore provided an important, even vital, tool of free speech and the exchange of ideas for a free-thinking and independent minority largely disenfranchised by nineteenth-century American society. Thomas Lawson's Letters from an Atheist Nation aptly demonstrates Moore's significance as a pioneer American atheist leader, and the testimonials of his subscribers contained herein are no less vital, or cogent, than they were when they were first printed more than a century ago."

JOHN SPARKS, author of Kentucky's Most Hated Man: Charles Chilton Moore & The Bluegrass Blade

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1466397357
  • ISBN-13: 978-1466397354
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,368,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas J. Lawson lives in British Columbia, Canada. After a few years of making movies and TV shows, he switched to the glamorous life of full-time dad to two kids and a pug. When they are busy playing, he is busy writing. He is currently at work on a novel.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By S. Evans on October 8, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Admittedly, I haven't finished reading this yet; I just /had/ to stop halfway through to say how fascinating I'm finding the stories. Some of them echo my own experiences and beliefs very closely, while others add new facets I've never even considered. Some of the language and references are, understandably, rather dated, but the stories told within are still entirely relevant today. I recommend this not only for atheists and other non-theists, but also those theists who want to better understand the motivations of their non-believing family and friends.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Long, Dark Tea-time of the Soul on October 5, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
With the growth in people coming out as atheist / non-believers these days and the higher profile that our section of society is garnering, we sometimes forget that there are many who have walked this road before us. This book is a reminder that we are not the first. Whilst it is always great to hear from Dawkins, Hitchens and going back further Russell and Ingersoll, to me these are the real voices. The voices that could be our grandfathers, uncles and ourselves. And for me that alone would be enough of a reason to buy this book. The hard work that has gone into what is clearly a labor of love is a bonus. I would also suggest that if you are a theist you don't just dismiss this book without taking the time to read it. We really aren't that different in many ways. This may help you see that.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John Sparks on November 11, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
A few weeks ago, when the Kindle edition of this book first came out, I wrote: "I guess I'll have to get a Kindle, or else borrow my daughter's, to keep reading this book--but the introductory portion featured on the book's Amazon page certainly leaves a reader hungry for more. How about a print version, though? It'd seem to me to be a worthwhile project."

The book's traditional print version is now available, and I reiterate my thanks to Thomas Lawson for resurrecting, as it were, an obscure but important facet of Kentucky history as well as that of American freethought. The only difference I see between these colorful and variegated testimonies of nonbelief, and similar missives available in blog postings on the Internet today, is that the 1903 letter writers were, by and large, quite a bit more articulate and mannerly than their Internet journalistic heirs. Even so, some of the writers do have an annoying tendency--as do their contemporaries--to employ "shock language" to stir up, as it were, the fretful complacency of their fundamentalist Christian counterparts. But the issues are still the same--and are still waiting to be addressed by the American public at large.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cactus Ed on April 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What an unexpected delight this book has been for me! In the past ten years I've been reading everything from Dan Barker to Richard Dawkins to Sam Harris to Christopher Hitchens and a whole many more of the "new" atheists, and then, of late, I've acquired the complete works of the incomparable Robert Ingersoll. But I've got to say how eloquent these ordinary letter-writers were in expressing their doubts about the god of the bible and Christianity in general. These writings are as good as any I've read anywhere. Many of these writers were indeed influenced by Ingersoll. Some even mentioned having seen him in-person ( this was 1903, and Ingersoll had died only four years earlier ). I definitely recommend this book to any and all of my New Atheist friends. It's a real treasure. Thanks to Tom Lawson for bringing these letters back for us!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Judy V on April 8, 2013
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I don't know why I was so shocked by the sheer number of letters in this book. As is pointed out in the preface, between these essays and our modern-day "new" atheism lies the decades-long mini "Dark Ages" of the Cold War, Red Scare, McCarthyism, and conflation of Communism with Atheism, which drove the budding free-thinking, rationalist movement underground for generations.

If we could communicate with these men and women, who range in age from quite old to surprisingly young (people in their 80's who lived through the Civil War, teenagers & people in their 20's, and all ages in between contributed to this project), we would feel completely at home with them, and agree with their conclusions regarding god(s) and the Bible.

The writing is often breathtakingly poetic, but more often straight-forward and matter-of-fact. Yet somehow, this segment of our society seems to have been forgotten by history. All we keep hearing about these days is how our country was founded on Christian principles, and our seemingly recent abandonment of those principles has led to the horrible state our country is in today. I am as guilty as the next person of believing that there is something new and modern about our current questioning of religion.

But when you think about the popularity back then of people like Ingersoll and Twain, there must have been an audience for them, right? The people in this book are members of that audience. I consider them my brothers and sisters.
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