Facility Spring Cleaning Textbook Trade In Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_cbcc_7_fly_beacon $5 Albums Fire TV Stick Beauty Gifts Made in Italy Amazon Gift Card Offer out2 out2 out2  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors Kindle Paperwhite ReadyRide Bikes from Diamondback STEM
Customer Review

3,031 of 3,243 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From someone who's actually read the book!, May 14, 2007
This review is from: God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (Hardcover)
After looking through some of the other customer reviews found here, I was dismayed by the amount of "blog-style" entries: that is, people who may have only glanced at the title or saw Hitchens promoting the book on CNN or YouTube and decided to just speak up, either in support or condemnation. However, if you're curious about the book and just want to know what to expect, may I humbly offer some actual information?

Hitchens, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, author of books too numerous to mention and contributor to smaller magazines such as Free Inquiry, adds to the recent renaissance of pro-atheist books with his own provocatively-titled contribution. Whereas Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason) sees dire warnings and Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion offers a defense of science, Hitchens uses his long experience in journalism to illustrate the madness that results when faith is unchallenged by reason. Dawkins has been criticized for adopting a harsh tone (an assessment I disagree with), but Hitchens is the one who really pours on the anger and witty derision. Some sample chapter titles make it clear he's playing for keeps:

Chapter two: "Religion Kills"

Chapter Four: "The Metaphysical Claims of Religion Are False"

Chapter Seven: "Revelation: The Nightmare of the Old Testament"

Chapter Eight: "The 'New' Testament Exceeds the Evil of the 'Old' One"

Chapter Nine: "The Koran is Borrowed From Both Jewish and Christian Myths"

That should give you a pretty good idea of the tone, but the chapter titles prove to be no mere cheap provocations. Drawing on decades (if not centuries) of scholarship that exposes the cobbled-together recipes for the holy books of the three "great" monotheisms, he shows them to be products of a violent time when scientific information about the world was unavailable and most people were entirely illiterate. He then gives modern day examples of how these myths have been put to horrendous use (yes, 9/11 is mentioned). In one section, he revisits the sins of "Agnes Bojaxhiu, an ambitious Albanian nun who had become well-known under the nom de guerre of 'Mother Teresa'," which he covered at greater length in his previous controversial expose The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, and reiterates how the "miracles" ascribed to her are so slap-dash and false they're almost comical.

While he devotes much of his outrage at "the big three" (my phrase), he also offers a chapter titled "There Is No 'Eastern' Solution," which would have to find disagreement with Sam Harris, who argues that many of the spiritual practices of Buddhism, shorn of their supernatural trappings, could be beneficial. Hitchens, ever the realist, wants us to know that history doesn't bear these claims out.

Hitchens often delivers his ideas like he's trying to splash his martini across your face at a party--at one point he muses "Why do people keeep saying, 'God is in the details'? He isn't in ours, unless his yokel creationist fans wish to take credit for his clumsiness, failure and incompetence"--and the result is often thrilling reading. His vitriol can be unnerving sometimes, like when he asks "Is Religion Child Abuse?", not to mention the full title of his tome. Never trust a book that splashes the word "everything" on its cover; it's usually a sign that the author is either desperate or foolishly grandiose. After reading the book, I don't think Hitchens is either, but in his worst moments he shows symptoms. In any event, I'm sure he doesn't intend this to be a work of (pardon the phrase) "evangelism"--he doensn't hope to influence even the mildly religious--but like that martini in the face (followed, perhaps, by an olive to the noggin), he wants to deliver a wake-up call. Some may see only a plea for attention, but he would quickly redirect you the the world outside.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]

Comments

Track comments by e-mail
Tracked by 13 customers

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 198 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 14, 2007 1:50:19 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 14, 2007 1:52:14 PM PDT
N. Scribner says:
The Amazon.com editors for this item clearly have a hidden agenda. I posted a similar five-star review two days ago, referencing and quoting the book and saying that the ignorant people giving this book one star need to actually read the book. But, for some reason, Amazon.com never posted my review.

Those who read this book and enjoyed it need to speak up on Amazon.com and give it a high rating and favorable (and honest) review. This book's star rating is being taken over by anti-Hitchens mercenaries who have never read the book and are giving it unintelligible one-star reviews because of a personal hatred for Christopher Hitchens and atheism.

To the Amazon.com editors: You also need to be filtering out these abusive reviews written by people who have clearly never even read the book. I have reported many such reviews to be deleted, but nevertheless the Amazon.com review editors for this book seem to be perfectly content with keeping them up. It is in strict violation of the Amazon.com review policy to rate an item one hasn't purchased or used that doesn't offer any specific criticism or comments to the item.

To the people who have actually read and enjoyed this book: it is time to speak up. The only way this book can have an honest Amazon.com rating is if people on both sides of the debate speak up (and only those who have read the book).

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2007 3:18:01 PM PDT
oo0OO0oo says:
Agreed Nick. It's so frustrating to see people who post these non-reviews because of their ideological bent. They typically have twenty reviews and fifteen are 1-star dismissals of the book outright with nothing to indicate that they've actually read the book. Perhaps if Amazon required you to purchase the book from them before adding your review we'd see less of this nonsense.

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2007 8:12:04 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 16, 2009 3:20:08 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2007 8:51:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 14, 2007 8:52:42 PM PDT
I don't think it is so easy to be honest and fair about this volatile book. I have the suspicion that a number of Hitchen's adherents have not read the book thoroughly themselves but are quick to defend it against negative criticisms. I admit, however, that it isn't necessary to read the entire book to get the gist of it's message, so I think the recurrent accusation that unfavorable reviewers have not read the book is overblown. If you consider my comment impertinent, how do most of you Hitchens lovers justify your scornful and excessive remarks towards other reviewers / commentators?

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2007 10:04:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 14, 2007 10:09:44 PM PDT
Karla says:
"complete lack of respect shown toward those who do not share the author's point of view."

Yeah, we do tend to scorn those 1-sentence 1-star reviewers who talk NOTHING about the subject matter, rather they use rants, disguised as 'reviews' to spew their hatred they have for atheists.

"nothing more than an attempt to belittle people simply because they have a different point of few."

Ironic, that's exactly what the 1-sentence 1-star reviewers do.

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2007 10:08:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 14, 2007 10:10:25 PM PDT
Karla says:
"I don't think it is so easy to be honest and fair about this volatile book."

You haven't read it. It's only volatile, in your opinion, because Hitchens is an atheist, and he doesn't believe in your Bible-God.

"I think the recurrent accusation that unfavorable reviewers have not read the book is overblown."

Oh, please. If I gave the Bible 1-star, you would be all on my case, and I have read it. If someone writes a review that talks NOTHING about the product they're reviewing, it's very justifiable to criticize the fake-reviewer.

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2007 5:16:30 AM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on May 15, 2007 9:16:08 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 15, 2007 9:17:33 AM PDT
Tara P. says:
That was a really well-said and thought out review.

Thank you for actually contributing something that helps me determine if I will read the book, rather than simply displaying someone's desperate-to-be-heard agenda.

People like you allow me to still utilize this kind of forum.

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2007 1:12:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 15, 2007 1:15:32 PM PDT
L. Harris writes: "The only "ideological bent" behind my objection to a work like this (and many of the positive reviews and comments posted here) is the complete lack of respect shown toward those who do not share the author's point of view."

How much respect do you afford vociferous and politically active believers in the Flying Spaghetti Monster? (Bless his Noodly Appendages.)

You got it. Most of the time you ignore them. When they continue to bug you, you try to reason with them. When they simply refuse to accept the obvious, you tell them you're done with them. When they try to pass laws based on their deeply held belief in 'morally correct' sauces, you tell 'em to GET LOST. When they refuse to do what you really mean (cook in private and leave the rest of us alone), you have to tell 'em they're STUPID for believing in the Noodly One.

Then, of course, they start whining about you you have no respect for their views. At least they're right about that one!

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2007 6:30:30 PM PDT
mimi says:
to 2007, I don't blame you for not leaving a name on this comment. You actually review books you've never read?
‹ Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 20 Next ›