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The Evolution of God
A one-trick pony from Wright

This book could, and should, have one of two alternative titles.

It's either "Nonzero: The Religion Primer" or "The Evoluti
May 28, 2009
Nov 29, 2012
Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010
"Coming Apart" is quite possibly more mendacious than "The Bell Curve." It's certainly more hypocritical, and given that Murray's whole thesis is ulti ...more
Feb 18, 2012
Feb 19, 2012
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
This book is OK overall, no more, and IS deserving of the criticism Greenblatt has gotten, for overstating his case and more.

Greenblatt's good part is
Feb 16, 2012
Feb 17, 2012
Isabella: The Warrior Queen
The book's a comedy of errors and stereotypes.

In the first chapter, I could see what seemed to be some definite Christianist bias and bad-type revisio
Dec 20, 2014
Dec 19, 2014
The Happy Atheist
Per my status update, for any non-Gnu Atheists, skeptics, agnostics, etc., who are familiar with PZ, this book is what you'd expect. Basically, it's a ...more
Sep 09, 2013
Sep 08, 2013
The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
The Commodore comes alive

It's hard, quite hard, translating 19th century finances to today, or stature.

But, pretend that one person was a pioneer in b
Jun 30, 2010
Nov 26, 2012
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
Free Leonard Peltier!


Well, you have to read this book, but here's a synopsis that nobody but the most diehard 1970s FBI defender can try to deny.

Feb 2006
Dec 17, 2012
Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything
Call this book review "The deep loneliness of Barbara Ehrenreich" or maybe "The Tragedy of Barbara Ehrenreich."

I wrestled with exactly how to rate thi
Aug 17, 2014
Aug 17, 2014
Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power
I'm going to be a bit contrarian and down-rate this book. (Ideally, I'd put it at 3.5 stars, maybe 3.75.)

It's good, good indeed for what it covers. Bu
Jul 17, 2012
Jul 23, 2012
The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power
Age of Acquiescence

First, Steve Fraser has a word for us to learn: “Precariat.” You can probably see the word from which this portmanteau derives, in
Mar 03, 2015
Mar 03, 2015
The Rise of Rome: The Making of the World's Greatest Empire
A solid overview of Republican Rome.

Everitt, especially in looking at the early years of the republic, and the ancient authorial sources, breaks their
Dec 28, 2012
Dec 01, 2012
All In: The Education of General David Petraeus
While there are "sympathetic" biographies in a good sense, like Robert K. Massie's new bio of Catherine the Great, there are sympathetic bios that are ...more
May 09, 2012
May 11, 2012
The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths
This review should prove that I don't always "high-side" my reviewing stars. In fact, let me be blunt — now that I've read one Shermer book, I have no ...more
Jun 28, 2011
Nov 19, 2012
Faitheist: How An Atheist Found Common Ground With The Religious
Disclosure: I am a Facebook friend of Chris.

First, I agree with his take on Gnu Atheism. Very much so.

I also agree with the idea of trying to find co
Jan 27, 2013
Jan 27, 2013
Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee
A horrible, ethically challenged book that's also not that new, not that good

Korda's treatment of the Seven Days campaign is the only good think in th
Aug 20, 2014
Aug 20, 2014
Critique of Religion and Philosophy
"The Need for Negative Thinking" - with caveats

In his preface to the original edition, Kaufmann suggests this would be a worthy subtitle for the book.
May 14, 1999
Dec 26, 2012
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914
Simply fantastic book about the run-up to World War I.

Things I learned include:
1. The Triple Entente, especially from the British angle, was not exclu
Sep 2013
Aug 27, 2013
Introducing the Ancient Greeks: From Bronze Age Seafarers to Navigators of the Western Mind
This book looked interesting on the shelves; I thought that, if nothing else, I might learn one or two things, at least, about post-Mycenean, pre-clas ...more
Jul 21, 2014
Jul 21, 2014
10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works
You can learn to meditate, or something similar, without this book, without the "franchise" that Harris seems to be creating, and without the religiou ...more
Jul 25, 2014
Jul 25, 2014
Glorious Accident
Would you like to bring to life the scene of Plato's Symposium? Who would you invite in terms of "deep thinkers"?

Well, this book, which is a transcrip
Apr 10, 2000
Dec 24, 2012
The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters
Good technological and business review; just so-so environmentally

This book is especially valuable for people wanting to understand the technological
Jan 25, 2014
Jan 28, 2014
The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success
When Stark can make broad-sweeping, but not very accurate statements such as "Capitalism was developed by the great monastic estates," you know to buc ...more
Dec 20, 2005
Dec 18, 2012
His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
A grudge-holding hack writes an autobiography that's not that great, even by standards of medium-form sports writing.

The grudge-holding hack?

First, I
May 18, 2014
May 18, 2014
The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values
Presumably the last Sam Harris book I will ever read

What's wrong? Harris is a Platonic idealist in drag. He also engages in scientism. And, his Islamo
Jan 25, 2011
Nov 23, 2012
The Trial of Socrates
The real Socrates (and Plato, too?) revealed

Socrates was NOT a democrat, of course. His touting of Sparta, and his relations to Alciabiades and other
Mar 18, 2009
Nov 30, 2012
Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God: How to Give Love, Create Beauty and Find Peace
Tosh. You're either an atheist, or a god-believer. Not both. (Not the first time I heard such mush. I once heard a Ph.D. in philosophy and self-define ...more
May 30, 2014
May 30, 2014
Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence
Once again, Armstrong offers up tendentious and inaccurate views of religion in general and individual religions in particular in pursuit of an agenda ...more
Feb 22, 2015
Feb 22, 2015
Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World
I'd read Francis' "Why Men Won't Ask for Directions," and saw it as a solid rebuke of the worst of evolutionary psychology, and now think I need to ra ...more
Jul 09, 2015
Jul 09, 2015
Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age
Great exercise in demythologizing, especially of Gandhi

It has been said of French president Clemenceau that he had one illusion, France, and one disil
May 29, 2009
Dec 05, 2012
Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln
Great addition to the parallel lives concept

The most thought-provoking and controversial parts are on the Lincoln side.

1. Was he really that much of,
Nov 2009
Nov 27, 2012
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