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Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt

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3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  86 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In this deeply revealing and engaging autobiography, Herb Silverman tells his iconoclastic life story. He takes the reader from his childhood as an Orthodox Jew in Philadelphia, where he stopped fasting on Yom Kippur to test God’s existence, to his adult life in the heart of the Bible Belt, where he became a legendary figure within America’s secular activist community and ...more
Hardcover, 255 pages
Published June 1st 2012 by Pitchstone Publishing (first published March 24th 2012)
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Jim
May 02, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it
A fun though slight autobiography of Herb Silverman, mathematician and prominent American atheist. Silverman recounts his Jewish upbringing, his career as a mathematics professor, and his late conversion from an apathetic to activist voice for atheism.

Some of the most entertaining parts of the book involve his upbringing in a Jewish family, one which frowned on too much fraternization with gentiles and which certainly would not condone marriage outside the faith. Silverman ended up disappointing
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Elliot Ratzman
Jul 07, 2012 Elliot Ratzman rated it liked it
Herb Silverman is a retired math professor and atheist activist living in Charleston, SC. My parents read about him in the local newspaper and over the years have sent me clippings of his adventures. Being a Yankee Jewish atheist in Charleston is no easy feat—it helps to be funny—and this pedestrian autobiography is full of witty tales of little outrages to common sense and decency he encounters in the South. Challenging SC law, he runs for governor since it is illegal for atheists to serve in p ...more
Timothy Campbell
Mar 30, 2012 Timothy Campbell rated it it was amazing
CANDIDATE WITHOUT A PRAYER: The Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt
By Herb Silverman
Forward by Richard Dawkins
Review by Tim Campbell
Print version published by Pitchstone Publishing 2012. E-Book published by American Humanist Press 2012. 252 pages.
First, a word about the E-book format. This is American Humanist Press’s first title to be published as an E-book. It is also coincidentally the first E-book that I have dealt with. I am by nature a traditionalist. I want to have the fe
...more
Emily Dietle
Apr 12, 2012 Emily Dietle rated it it was amazing
It was a bit of a challenge writing this book review without revealing or spoiling the number of anecdotal gems contained within. Herb Silverman, if you’re unfamiliar, is an atheist, activist, and the President of the Secular Coalition for America. When asked to review Candidate Without a Prayer, I was at first concerned that it would be a three hundred page advert for the Coalition. It wasn’t.

This book doesn’t take off quickly; in fact, the first three chapters have a very slow pace. These page
...more
Russell
Nov 16, 2012 Russell rated it really liked it
Herb Silverman is founder and president of Secular Coalition For American and, as the book's subtitle says, he is a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt. This is his autobiography.

Silverman talks about his childhood, family, and education in a humorous, often self-deprecating, manner. He continues this entertaining style throughout the book as he describes his professional teaching career as a math professor, unwitting introduction into political activism, and his philosophies on introducing these s
...more
David López
Aug 25, 2016 David López rated it really liked it
I is a funny autobiography of a funny man. The book is quite enjoyable and you can learn some interesting things from it.
His a life I think has a lot in common with other secular and no secular Jews that have transcended modern history and his picture of the South is quite interesting. I was surprised for how he describes a society that is very decades behind, if not centuries, without reinforcing stereotypes but instead trying to show the great diversity of his state.
I think he enjoyed his life
...more
Michael Friedman
Feb 12, 2013 Michael Friedman rated it it was ok
A fairly uninteresting life. It would be better served as memoir versus autobiography as the theme of atheism in the South is overshadowed by a life of a Jewish math professor who grew up in Philadelphia and had a normal life professionally and privately. Hitchens Hitch-22 had little about his personal life but was an astounding book of his travels and observations. This author could learn from that model.
Kathy Pettycrew
Jul 29, 2014 Kathy Pettycrew rated it really liked it
The state constitution of South Carolina used to require all elected officials to believe in a supreme being. The US Constitution prohibits religious tests to hold office. Hmmm...wasn't this settled in the 1800's? Anyway, this is an interesting autobiography of Herb Silverman, a mathematics professor in South Carolina who ultimately got the state constitution changed. It is funny and touching. You learn about his life and about math, as well as his interactions with the SC government.
Art
Dec 04, 2014 Art rated it really liked it
Good enough. Quite a few amusing bits, and some really good stories. I'm especially glad that when the person who loaned it to me let me know she needed it back, I skipped to the last chapter and read that when I still had a few more chapters to read. It encouraged me to finish the book, and when I got to the end of the penultimate chapter, IT was the perfect end to the book!
Linda
Aug 06, 2012 Linda rated it really liked it
Read this aloud with Doug on our trip to Seattle- enjoyed some of Herb's wiseass descriptions of his life- especially enjoyed his running for governor and his adventures becoming a notary public. What's with him and his mom?
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