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Frequently Bought Together

The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever + God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything + Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens
Price for all three: $67.48

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Phoenix Audio; Abridged edition (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159777197X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597771979
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 5.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #633,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Interconnecting a vast range of sources from Lucretius to more contemporary authors, Hitchens brings together a mix of naysayers and skeptics regarding religion and, in particular, God. While not all of his selections are by fervent atheists, Hitchens connects them in such a way as to explore how and why people have rejected religious beliefs throughout the ages. Additionally, he provides valuable introductions to many of the pieces, situating them for the listener in the context of his overall argument. While some provide great insight and questions for listeners, others are only tangentially relevant. Nicholas Ball has an agreeable voice, but when transitioning from introductions to the excerpt, he rarely pauses and listeners may not even realize the excerpt is being read. His timing and speed may work well with other material, but lacks the reflection and nuance needed for this diverse and complex work with many different writing styles.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Hitchens has returned to the Belief Wars backed by a full army ... the Godless Warrior marshals in an Atheist A-Team ... to buttress his own arguments ... Hitchens is the guide as well as the commentator linking it all together. --San Diego Tribune

More About the Author

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was the author of Letters to a Young Contrarian, and the bestseller No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family. A regular contributor to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly and Slate, Hitchens also wrote for The Weekly Standard, The National Review, and The Independent, and appeared on The Daily Show, Charlie Rose, The Chris Matthew's Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, and C-Span's Washington Journal. He was named one of the world's "Top 100 Public Intellectuals" by Foreign Policy and Britain's Prospect.

Customer Reviews

I can highly recommend this book, to believers and non-believers.
WinterinMonaco
Great collection of secular quotes and articles from books and other publishings.
S. Evett
Most of the book contains witty articles that are quite easy to read.
C. cox

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

587 of 607 people found the following review helpful By J. Benishek on November 12, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Portable Atheist, edited by Christopher Hitchens, is a great selection of how atheism has transformed into what it is today. Hitchens' introduction itself is an astounding tour de force that should not be skipped. In his introduction alone, Hitchen's lays out the foundation and positive attributes of atheism. This is crucial as many people have the common misunderstanding that atheists are pessimists or discontented. He also makes the genuinely important point that in order to believe in one of the three major monotheisms, you have to believe that the heavens watched our species for at least one hundred and fifty thousand years with "indifference, and then- and only in the last six thousand years at the very least - decided that it was time to intervene as well as redeem." He concedes that it is preposterous to believe such a heinous thing - for it would be cruel if true. His introduction is intelligent, convincing and witty - and it doesn't stop there.

The selections in this book show the evolution of atheism (or at least nontheism) from early critics of religion such as: Benedict De Spinoza, Thomas Hobbes and David Hume to more of a middle stage (Darwin, George Eliot, Mark Twain and Bertrand Russell) and then to modern-day critics like: Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Steven Weinberg, Daniel Dennett, Carl Sagan, Victor Stenger, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and many more. Another great thing is the book is helpfully arranged in chronological order. All beliefs aside, the selections in this book are powerfully argued and well written. I'd recommend it to anyone with a hunger for the truth and an open mind.
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485 of 512 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer VINE VOICE on October 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
Christopher "Hitch" Hitchens is the literate jackanapes of the New Atheism, an unofficial affiliation that includes Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, Sam Harris, A.C. Grayling, Victor Stenger, PZ Myers, and others. Hitch once quipped that Dawkins had been invited, along with him, to present atheism so that the audience could also get a more moderate view of the position. (If you don't know why that's funny, read Dawkins's "The God Delusion," which is uncompromisingly immoderate.) Hitch's book, "god is Not Great" cemented his reputation as the Sweeney Todd of antitheism, for whom words are razors and arrogant ignorance is the prey. This was the guy, after all, who several years ago wrote a slashing diatribe against Mother Teresa.

The introduction that Hitchens writes for this volume is just excellent. Funny, barbed, witty...a real showcase of his rhetorical skill. And the selections made for this book are uniformly excellent. It's easy to quibble that this should have been included or that could have been left out, but on the whole, this volume represents a compendium of some of the best literature in atheology. From Hume to Penn Jillette, Hobbes to Salman Rushdie, some of the most brilliant, sharpest criticisms of the notion of gods and the practices of religion are represented.

I know too many believers to think that something as mere as reading a great many genius writers making mountains of sense could change their minds; but certainly this tome presents a substantial challenge to easy assumptions, and a buffet banquet for thought. It is a tribute to this book that it winds up on the favorites lists of several bloggers, including one who defines himself as a "secular Catholic Buddhist": [...]
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208 of 221 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Edwin Fry Jr. on December 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
In a world being swamped with 6000-year earth age advocates and mind-numbing religious attacks on science, with some U.S. presidential candidates in the lead, The Portable Atheist is an island of sanity and respite from irrationality and the unending barrage of misinformation from "believers". From the Taliban to the fundamentalist and evangelical command posts, whether on "Christian" TV and radio or the minaret, temple, or store front hotbeds, common sense, science, and rational thinking have never been so daily assaulted. Revel in the words of those who have fought the good fight against Bronze Age morality and intellectual dysfunction. The Portable Atheist is a companion you will want by your side. Great reading, instructive, and, most of all, provides hope that clear thinking might just have a chance.
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83 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on December 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
Hitchens prefaces his book by telling us that the prehistory of our species is ridden with episodes of nightmarish ignorance and calamity, for which religion is used to identify not just the wrong explanation but the wrong culprit as well. The few men of science and reason and medicine had all they could do to keep their libraries and laboratories intact, or their very lives safe from harm.

Today's typical "justification" for religion involves charitable or humanitarian work - obviously this says nothing about the veracity of the belief systems involved. All religions must, at their core, look forward to the end of this world; atheists, on the other hand argue that this world is all we have and that it is our duty to make the most of it.

It is one thing, per Hitchens, to believe that the magnificence of the natural order strongly implies an ordering force; quite another to say this creative force cares for our human affairs, and it is interested in with whom we have sex and how, as well as the outcome of battles and wars (and even athletic contests). Even accepting Jesus' birth, it still does not prove he was more than one among many shamans and magicians of the day.

Einstein took the view that the miracle is that there are no miracles.

Everybody is an atheist in saying that there is a god in which he does not believe - atheists simply go one step further and add another god to not believe in.

Sadly, there are the seemingly endless wars and persecutions that go on in the name of religion.
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