Living with a Wild God and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$18.55
Qty:1
  • List Price: $26.00
  • Save: $7.45 (29%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Living with a Wild God: A... has been added to your Cart
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.00
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything Hardcover – April 8, 2014


See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$18.55
$12.11 $8.41

Best Books of the Year
See the Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.


Frequently Bought Together

Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything + How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee
Price for both: $40.59

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (April 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145550176X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455501762
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ehrenreich has always been an intellectual and a journalistic badass... [She] ultimately arrives at a truce with the idea of God. You'll admire her journey."
Entertainment Weekly

"[Ehrenreich] resolutely avoids rhetoric in that 'blubbery vein'--which is why her book is such a rare feat...She struggles to make sense of the epiphany without recourse to the 'verbal hand-wavings about mystery and transcendence' that go with the territory... Ehrenreich has no interest in conversion...She wants, and inspires, open minds."
The Atlantic

"The factor that makes each of [Barbara's] books so completely unique in American intellectual life is her persistent sensitivity to matters of social class. She can always see through the smokescreen, the cloud of fibs we generate to make ourselves feel better about a world where the work of the many subsidizes the opulent lifestyles of the few. That, plus the fact that she writes damned well. Better than almost anyone out there, in fact."—Salon

"As personal a piece of writing as she has ever done... A surprising turn for Ehrenreich, who for more than 40 years has been one of our most accomplished and outspoken advocacy journalists and activists."—The Los Angeles Times

"Until reading LIVING WITH A WILD GOD I counted the Mary Karr memoir trilogy as my favorite from a contemporary literary figure. Now, Ehrenreich's memoir is tied for first place with Karr's books... Thank goodness [this book] exists. It is quite likely to rock the minds of readers who dare open to the first page."—Houston Chronicle

"A smart and enjoyable read... Ehrenreich maintains a grip on a sensible skepticism about religious matters - and a positive hostility toward the idea of unthinking faith - while avoiding the narrow-minded excesses that more zealous atheists sometimes fall victim to."—The Chicago Tribune

About the Author

BARBARA EHRENREICH is the author of fourteen books, including the bestselling Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. She lives in Virginia.

More About the Author

BARBARA EHRENREICH is the author of fourteen books, including the bestselling Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. She lives in Virginia, USA.

Customer Reviews

The writing style of this book was very annoying to me.
Roberta B. Cohen
There are no conclusions about her "mystical" experiences -- even she seems to pretty much conclude they are brain malfunctions and nothing spiritual.
Chris Smith
I really appreciated Barbara Ehrenreich's willingness to share her personal journey in trying to grasp at some meaning in life in this very personal book.
Colbs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

147 of 155 people found the following review helpful By Mary K. Breazeale on April 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Barbara Ehrenreich is an author whose books were important influences on my generation of feminist/socialists. Hearts of Men and Nickle and Dimed are classics. So when I saw that, now in her 70s, she’s produced a book on spirituality I was eager to read it.

Living with a Wild God focuses on a set of dissociative moments experienced by Ehrenreich during her childhood and teen years. Uncanny insights into the nature of being? Encounters with the divine? Brain freeze explosions? An atheist, Ehrenreich refuses to give a conventional religious interpretation to what happened. In fact she doesn’t want to corrupt the purity of experience by interpreting or defining these moments at all. Okay, but then why write a book that keeps circling back to these incidents only to back away from explaining why they feel so crucial to her life story?

What results from all this is a weirdly unsatisfying memoir. We get the story of a brainly misfit growing up in a dysfunctional household headed by an alcoholic father and miserably unhappy, abusive mother. Ehrenreich’s enjoyably snarky voice, which works so well in most of her writing, falls flat here. Other than a nicely mean account of her adolesence in LA (like the Kerouac of Big Sur, she hates the California sun) the author skates along the surface of her life story, meting out a kind of impersonal contempt to everyone including her solipsistic youthful self. High school, college, grad school, marriage, motherhood, the anti-war movement… blah, blah.

I was now, according to my kindle, 80% of the way through the book. Suddenly, bam! A whole new kind of writing starts happening. In a deeply personal tone, Ehrenreich tells us why she wrote Living with a Wild God.
Read more ›
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
83 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Stanley Crowe TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Barbara Ehrenreich, whose "Nickel and Dimed" is one of the best books I've read in the last fifteen years or so, is in her early seventies now (as I almost am myself), and it's quite wonderful to see her turn her unsentimental, humane eye on her own earlier life, and in particular, on some strange and intense "dissociative" experiences that she had as a teenager and, to some extent, still has today. These experiences she has come to present as encounters with something "other," and like the empirical scientist she used to try to be, her book is really an appeal to keep open the possibility that that "other" is something that we shouldn't rush to categorize in the language of religion, or psychiatry, or neuroscience. I have to say that nothing in "Nickel and Dimed" prepared me for this, but readers who are familiar with writers like Barry Lopez or Peter Matthiessen might think that Ehrenreich is exploring some territory that they too are interested in.

The book has two focuses of interest: first, her experience itself, which includes vivid accounts not only of what we might call uncanny moments but also of a very difficult childhood with two unhappy and finally alcoholic and suicidal parents. Ehrenreich writes about her parents with a detachment that is well short of clinical, but it's a detachment we can well understand as being the product of strategies that she, an unusually self-conscious, articulate child, devised to survive her relationship with these parents. She doesn't over-analyze, however: she contextualizes, and her adolescent encounters with uncanniness, along with her solipsism and precocious reading are set forth without any tightly connecting web of causes and effects being drawn between them.
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
103 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Rev. Brad Karelius on April 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a teacher of world religions, I have many students who either did not grow up within a spiritual tradition or had bad experiences with religion. Barbara reminds us that half of Americans reveal that they have had some kind of mystical experience. As a parish priest and college professor, I value Barbara's contribution in this book for my students. She is honest about her upbringing in an atheist, anti-religion family and her education and passion for science. But she finds the Cartesian rationality limited, especially when she tries to make sense of a powerful, mystical experience she had in Lone Pine, California fifty years ago (which is my own spiritual homeland). She gives voice and description to help others who have experienced a Presence/theOther/The Holy without requiring the vocabulary and theology of traditional religion.
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Janet Hardy on April 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I have much in common with Ms. Ehrenreich - including growing up in an atheist/skeptical home, possessing a stubbornly empirical temperament, and experiencing multiple reluctant journeys into the numinous/mystical/metaphysical/whatever-you-call-it. And I've struggled, as she does here, with the frustration of trying to explain my experiences without resorting to what she calls "the vague gurgles of surrender expressed in words like 'ineffable' and 'transcendent." So to see someone else deal so beautifully with the tension between a scientist's mind and a mystic's experience would be tremendously exciting to me anyway.

But the *writing* is so gorgeous! It intimidates me and challenges me all at once: if she can get her struggle down on paper, so can I.

Here's the thing, though: not one reader in one hundred will be able to identify with what she's gone through. Most will either have succumbed to the usual language with which one describes the transcendent, the Chopra-esque language of bliss and spirit (or its religiously dictated variants) - or will never have had or recognized an experience of that which lies outside the physical.

The reviews of this book reflect that deficit. Even Ehrenreich's writing, dispassionate and experiential as it is, is not good enough to convey the essence of these experiences to someone who has not had similar epiphanies. (And for the speakers of conventional "spirituality," it will seem as though she simply "met the Divine," or some similarly pat and meaningless explanation.)

So: for me, and those like me, this book is a touchpoint and possibly a life-changer - I can't begin to say how glad I am that I bought it. For everyone else, it won't make much sense at all. But I'm giving it five stars for the few of us for whom it will matter deeply.
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?