*Starred Review* Takes one to know one, they say, and Eagleton knows one of the new atheism’s dynamic duo, Christopher Hitchens, rather well, for in Hitchens’ socialist days, Eagleton was a comrade. Still a Marxist and, hence, an atheist, Eagleton scores Hitchens along with his biologist sidekick, Richard Dawkins (sometimes as the composite new atheist “Ditchkins”), for unconscionably misrepresenting theology generally and Christianity, in particular, and for adhering to the shallow liberal belief in progress. He does so from a perspective he says is Marxist but that resembles the classical Greek tragic view that human actions inevitably have both good and bad effects. Thus the Enlightenment, seedbed of modern atheism, the liberal state, and economic individualism—virtually all that is progressive—“has always been its own worst enemy.” Far better the communitarian, sometimes communal ethic, which Eagleton sees as the orthodox kernel of Christianity and says Ditchkins ignores, than the surveillance state, wars for corporate profit, degenerate entertainment, and managed news that “progress” has brought us. Eagleton is that rarity, a non-ideological Marxist with a keen understanding of and sympathy for the human condition, not to mention an informed as well as sharp sense of humor. Serious Christians may be his most appreciative readers. --Ray Olson
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"'Terry Eagleton's intervention into the debate sparked by Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion is, by turns, thought-provoking, infuriating, inspiring and very, very funny.' London Review of Books 'a gloriously rumbustious counter-blast to Dawkinsite atheism... paradoxes sparkle throughout this coruscatingly brilliant polemic... This is, then, a demolition job which is both logically devastating and a magnificently whirling philippic... Much of what it says is too true.' Paul Vallely, The Independent 'Eagleton's book began as a series of lectures delivered at Yale University. They must have been a riot... He's fantastically rude all round, about 'Ditchkins', about religion itself... It's terrific polemic.' Melanie McDonagh, Evening Standard"