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Book Review

Author: Christopher Hitchens

Published: 2007

Christopher Hitchens has written what approaches a masterpiece. Filled with historical references to religious atrocities and relevant examples, he builds his argument into a crescendo of atheist force.

If you’ve been put off by reading Dawkins I’d say Hitchens removes those elements that some people find unpalatable about Dawkins. More focused on eloquence and the symphony of style, Hitchens is better at backing up his argument with persuasive anecdotes and little-known facts.

All the more moving for the fact that Hitchens has now sadly passed away, this book is a manifesto for anyone who has dallied on the fence regarding religion. Unwittingly converted to the dark side by Dawkins when I was a teenager with cash to spare, there is a romance about Hitchens that allures the unbeliever.

His is a legacy of Platonic rationalism that elevates the mind above the mud of superstition and bigotry. Hitchens’ verbal sword cuts through bullshit and leaves ignorance quivering in its wake. There are many counts on where I would disagree with him, but none of his points can be accused of being ill-considered.

This was a fantastic book and I’m just glad there are so many more pages to read by this great author. One of the magnificent thinkers of our time, there was a surge of hatred from the religious extremists shouting divine vengeance at him throughout his life when he contracted cancer. This will have only confirmed many of his arguments, and he says in an interview that religious supporters asked if he would renounce his beliefs now death was beckoning at the door.

He said, quite rightly, that he found it quite nonsensical to renege his principles when death is the most important time to stand by what you believe. I was sad upon closing the last page of this great book that it’s author has left us so recently.

R.I.P.

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