Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism

Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism

"Jacoby accomplishes her task with clarity, thoroughness, and an engaging passion." -Los Angeles Times Book Review At a time when the separation of church and state is under attack as never before, Freethinkers offers a powerful defense of the secularist heritage that gave Americans the first government in the world founded not on the authority of religion but on the bedro "Jacoby accomplishes her task with clarity, thoroughness, and an engaging passion." -Los Angeles Times Book Re...

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Title:Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism
Author:Susan Jacoby
Rating:
Genres:History
ISBN:Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism
ISBN
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:370 pages pages

Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism Reviews

  • Matthew Wesley
    Sep 07, 2007
    This book was a shock to me in many ways. I was unaware of the very early opposition to the godless constitution of the United States. Quite unrealistically, I had thought the cultural wars debating the role of religion in government and the role of government in religion originated in...
  • amiantos
    Jan 11, 2014
    I took this book as the rallying cry it was meant to be. If you read it and emerge from it apathetic, then you are truly lost. "Secularists", atheists, and their ilk should understand that they should not be interested only in themselves or their own causes, but in the causes of all of...
  • Carol
    Dec 30, 2007
    I learned so much and could not stop turning the pages. So much good done by reality based independent thinkers. ...
  • Broodingferret
    Feb 03, 2010
    This book makes a good follow up to Jennifer Michael Hecht's book Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson. Freethinkers is both an engaging treatment of the influence of secularist thought throu...
  • Brian Steed
    Dec 20, 2008
    Great topic, but I remember finding this one a bit of a slog to get through. Some scattered vignettes of interest, but Jacoby?s prose sometimes came a little too close to sweeping hyperbole, which doesn?t do justice to the subject. ...
  • Russell
    Apr 03, 2013
    Before I started reading this book I was afraid that it might be more an anti-religion tirade than a history book. I'm happy to say that my assumption was unfounded. Jacoby's history of secularism in America is well researched, mostly unbiased, and nicely written. When she occasionally...
  • Billrogers
    Jan 10, 2008
    I get so weary of hearing people say that the United States of America is a Christian nation. It is not. Freethinkers explains this essential fact in an interesting fashion. Susan Jacoby chronicles secularist thought from the revolutionary period until the present, bringing it ...
  • Stuart
    Jan 29, 2008
    This is an excellent and fair history of American secularism. Susan Jacoby reclaims American history from the religious right. She writes of freethinkers, deists, atheists, agnostics and other dissenters and their involvement in the drafting of the constitution, the abolition and suffr...
  • Mephistia
    Nov 16, 2017
    I picked up a paperback copy of this after hearing good reviews of the author. I've been trying, without success, to read it. I don't know ... the topic (secularism) and author (feminist atheist) both appeal to me, but her writing style just does not engage me. It's frustrating. I read...
  • Paul Fidalgo
    Jan 10, 2009
    Truly eye-opening. You can not only see how secularists and nonbelievers have been written out of our history, but how it is happening before our eyes today. Even more alarming, is the process by which religious interests of today claim the successes and sacrifices of yesterday's secul...
  • Tyler Anderson
    Jan 18, 2010
    I'm taking a break from this book. It's not long, but it's been kind of a slog for me, and I have trouble getting very far at a stretch. The information is relatively interesting, but the writing seems to wander around, almost verging on "filler" at times. It also has the timbre of a c...
  • Jinxi Caddel
    Sep 25, 2009
    A must-read for freethinkers!! ...
  • Kelly
    Oct 12, 2013
    The history of America is the history of American secularism. In FREETHINKERS: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN SECULARISM, author Susan Jacoby traces the origins and development of freethought in America ? and demonstrates how the history of America is intimately intertwined with the histor...
  • Deborah
    Dec 08, 2010
    Excellent introductory history. I feel cheated that I never learned about the contributions of Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Lucretia Mott in more than a glossed-over fashion in my American history studies, nor of Robert Green Ingersoll at all. These people, along with a host of better...
  • Kerrie
    Aug 15, 2011
    4.5 stars My main reaction to this book: "Why didn't we learn ANY OF THIS in history class?" And well, the answer's fairly obvious. Jacoby did a superlative job presenting a portrait of American history, this time including the atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, humanists, and se...
  • Michael
    Mar 07, 2014
    A solid (albeit a trifle long) history of atheism, agnosticism, secularism, and 'free thinkers' in America. I knew some of this history, but much of it was new to me. If anything, this book has reinforced the necessity for a separation of religion and government in my mind, something t...
  • Alan
    May 14, 2014
    Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism presents Susan Jacoby?s cheerful, well-informed voice in a great review of American history from a secular and liberal point of view, extending from Thomas Paine to George W. Bush. Jacoby is quite clear in showing that many conservative ...
  • Book
    Jun 24, 2011
    Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby "Freethinkers" is a fascinating historical account of the role of freethinkers in United States. This book provides an important narrative of the impact of freethinkers in the creation of the first secular government in...
  • Joseph Stieb
    Jul 08, 2014
    Jacoby's history of American secularism is an openly polemical book with a clear agenda. She wants to bring out the strong secular undercurrent in many key parts of American history, most importantly the founding. Overall the book is a success in this regard, presenting a side of histo...
  • Jacob J.
    Nov 02, 2011
    I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I cannot overstate how insightful, useful and dare I say, necessary ?Freethinkers? truly is. Not only does Jacoby lay out the best defense of secular values that has ever been written (with the possible exception of the Constitution itsel...
  • Pipim
    Sep 08, 2017
    Incredible account of non conformist in American history. The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is the lack of depth. It gives cursory description of each subject, their work and how it shaped or impacted society. ...
  • Mitch Rogers
    Jul 22, 2018
    A great book that not only explains the role of religion and non-religion in American history but also maps out the coalitions of sects and societies that have formed and realigned repeatedly in our history. At times Jacoby does get polemical, but the history itself remains rock solid....
  • Jim
    Aug 18, 2014
    Jacoby states the case for the necessity of secularism in our society. Through the lives of American secularists, she shows the unending struggle to keep the separation of church and state. Some of the lives highlighted are Thomas Paine, William Lloyd Garrison, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, ...
  • Nance
    May 12, 2018
    Oh those Christians, they never give up. Roe will soon be overturned, public money is funneling into religious schools. America is the most ?Christian? (in name anyway) country in the world and they are winning politically. All the freedoms we take as a right can be taken away and ...
  • Joshua Buhs
    Mar 21, 2013
    I appreciate the point of view of this book, and it is truly sad that no one could, today, stand up and celebrate America's secular foundations. Having said that, the book is not particularly interesting or persuasive. It is a history of so-called forgotten freethinkers (read secula...
  • Igor Faynshteyn
    Sep 06, 2013
    In this book, Susan Jacoby examines the beginnings of United States as a nation through historical perspective, chiefly focused on its secular roots and its founding fathers. From the beginning of the book, it becomes obvious and clear that the book is thoroughly researched with rich i...
  • Jordan
    Jun 15, 2014
    Explicitly secular contributions to some of our nation's most cherished, hard-fought, progressive victories were not exactly educational highlights of my youth. Indeed, they weren't taught at all?a major reason, I'm sure, that I've lived this long without knowing the name of Robert I...
  • Alejandro
    Dec 16, 2015
    All men and women are created equal. "We are laying the foundations of the grand temple of the future -not the temple of all gods, but of all people -wherein, with appropriate rites, will be celebrated the religion of Humanity. We are doing what little we can to hasten the coming of...
  • NJ Wong
    Jan 20, 2016
    Reading this book reminded me of the book "Doubt: A History" by Jennifer Michael Hecht. Both books are about the history of free thought, but Susan Jacoby's book is intensely focused on the happenings in the US, while Jennifer Hecht's book has a global scope. Both books are equally del...
  • Jack Greenrose
    Mar 22, 2018
    Susan Jacoby knows her history. This is a very interestingly written package about the life and struggles of secularists and feminists of the yesteryear. The only minus is that the book was published in 2004 and a lot has happened in 14 years: the rise and fall of ISIS, suppression of ...