Right now, I'm reading "Doubt, a history" by Jennifer Hecht and am finding it to be one of the best books on skeptical and atheist thought but had hardly seen any suggestions for it in most places I visit.

I think we'd all consider the big 3 (Hitchens, Dawkins, & Harris) as authors to suggest to someone wanting to get a better handle on their emerging atheism, or just for continued contemplation. That said, what other atheism books have you found helpful that maybe aren't receiving so much attention on, for example, Amazon

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I'd recommend "Sleeping With Extra-Terrestrials" by Wendy Kaminer, also "Freethinkers A History of American Secularism" by Susan Jacoby. Anything by Taner Edis, or Michael Shermer. "The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality" by Andre Comte-Sponville is an interesting argument for spirituality apart from religion. There are many more. Check out Mark Twain's "Letters from the Earth" for some great laughs.
I love that book. Excellent pick. :)
I just finished reading Living Without God by Ronald Arondson, Distinguished Professor of the History of Ideas at Wayne State University. It goes beyond the new atheists arguments against belief in a god to an excellent discussion of what to replace theistic-based ethics and morality with. It's a 2008 book, and I highly recommend it.


I have this book. Arondson argues for humanism, but he tends to avoid using the term. We should be trying to convince people why ethics and social policy without religion is better for society while respecting individual freedom of private faith or unbelief. I would like to see more development of the understanding of secularism as public government and policy and the history of secularism. - Gary


Wow, here's another great one I'm just about done with; Philosophers Without Gods edited by Louise Antony. The sections are all written by present day philosophy authors (like professors currently on faculty) so the language and topics are very up to date. I may like reading what Plato and others had to say, but these are authors who are making decisions based upon the current knowledge base and the history of religion to date. Also, their arguments are, by definition extremely well thought out and would be difficult to criticize.
The first half covers de-conversion stories which are, again, better than most I've read because of the level of education of the author.
If you find a copy to browse through, just read section 17 by Elizabeth Anderson "If God is Dead, Is Everything Permitted?" Excellent, excellent refutation of the claims by theists that you need god for morality. She not only shows this to be false but demonstrates how theists are potentially LESS moral because their morals come from god.

Daniel Dennett has many great books: The Mind's I, Breaking the Spell, etc. Great for exploring theories on what consciousness might be outside of the religious/spiritual realm.

I was gonna download the ebook of "Losing Faith in Faith." But amazon doesn't have an ebook for that one. Next time I go out I might stop by the book store and see if they have it.

It's fiction, so it might not count entirely, but I recently read Olive Schreiner's "Story of an African farm". It deals with atheism in a way I've never read before, and it was very refreshing, despite the fact it's over a century old now (I think).
I've read several of the books mentioned.

MarkTwain's Letters From the Earth remains unsurpassed.

Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby is the most important historical book of recent vintage. Her more recent book, The Age of American Unreason, I find rather insipid.

Sleeping With Extra-Terrestrials by Wendy Kaminer is quite good, if I remember correctly.

I just read The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality by Andre Comte-Sponville. See my review.

I took a look at Philosophers Without Gods edited by Louise Antony. I believe it's worth reading.

Victor J. Stenger's God: The Failed Hypothesis is excellent. I think he's better than Dawkins. See my review.

Dan Barker's book is reissued under the title Godless. I've not read it, but I just heard him speak, and he's very good.

Michael Shermer turns my stomach. Several blog entries give an indication of why.

Ralph, thanks for these reviews. I've been shoving aside The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality for several months now since the title keeps putting me off. After reading your review, I think my instincts are correct, but, I'll probably give it a try.

Wholly agree with your opinion about God: The Failed Hypothesis.

Interesting about the Susan Jacoby books. I'd heard the opposite from some people, but since I have your preferred book in my stack, I'll go to that soon. I'm next going to read Atheism Advanced: Further Thoughts of a Freethinker as soon as it comes in the mail.
I agree with you Ralph about Steger's God: The Failed Hypothesis. It is well written, clear and engaging. I found his treatment of the basic issue of why there is something rather than nothing very helpful. I think Stenger's book is at least as good as Dawkins' The god Delusion.
Now on to books not previously mentioned.

I love historical works most of all. One should not miss out on these magnificent anthologies:

Gaylor, Annie Laurie, ed. Women Without Superstition: "No Gods—No Masters": The Collected Wri.... Madison, WI: Freedom From Religion Foundation, 1997.

Whitehead, Fred; Muhrer, Verle, eds. Freethought on the American Frontier. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1992.

I have reviewed Michel Onfray's The Atheist Manifesto.

Oh, here are my remarks on Philosophers Without Gods:

More to come.




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