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The Rage Against God Paperback – 6 Feb 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum (6 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441195076
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441195074
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

The book will be especially satisfying for those who  share the author's feelings without being able to express them with such  deftness, vigour and occasional epigram. Even those unconvinced or... only almost  persuaded will never find it dull... --Contemporary Review, Volume 293 No. 1703

'The two best-written books were Christopher Hitchens's memoirs Hitch 22 and his brother Peter's The Rage Against God. Even though the authors set the benchmark for sibling rivalry, their books prove there is something special about them. Both are restless romantics, enemies of cosy consensus, original minds - and products of an education system that wanted all children to be cultured and questioning. Peter's book reads as if Cardinal Newman were reflecting on life after battle-scarred years as a foreign correspondent, while Christopher's book, if it were a thoroughbred horse, would be by George Orwell out of Kingsley Amis. I can think of no better pair of books for Christmas reflection.' --Michael Gove, Mail on Sunday, 5th December 2010

About the Author

Peter Hitchens is a British journalist, author and broadcaster. He witnessed most of the final scenes of the Cold War, and was a resident correspondent in the Soviet capital and in Washington, DC. He frequently revisits both Russia and the USA. He currently writes for the Mail on Sunday, where he is a columnist and occasional foreign correspondent, reporting most recently from Iran, North Korea, Burma, The Congo and China, winning the journalism category in the 2010 George Orwell Prize for this correspondence.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Paddington on 27 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not perhaps what I expected - less a tightly argued polemic than an occasionally argumentative memoir. Thankfully, like The Broken Compass, it happens to be some of the best biographical writing around today - much as Hitchens would probably disown such a judgement.

For all his image as a snarling conservative, Hitchens' written persona is a joy to spend time with. Fiercely but properly original (his observations all have solid premises, rather than being cheap shocks), curmudgeonly but graceful, and with winning depths of earnestness and nostalgia; he is never boring, frequently compelling, and usually provocative and sympathetic in equal measure. The trouble is, there are so few people out there actually writing down proper thoughts in proper sentences anymore. Most writing today is just the wisdom of the age in the clichés of the time: dislocated, tedious and hollow. It's like reading through mental smog. So I'm sure those who do not agree with a drop of Hitchens' politics or religion would still find the sheer clarity and warmth of this book's prose engaging.

I think one or two of its points are so striking that a little more tracing out of their foundations and implications would have been enjoyable. The death of faith in England, and the likely conclusion of atheism, are perhaps the two most important subjects when looking at the past century and looking ahead in the present one. But the book's subtle approach to its subject is haunting and memorable even without this. And much of its message is perhaps more powerful for being unspoken.

Probably the best English political writer since Orwell. And certainly the least self-satisfied, most interesting autobiographer writing in England today.
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85 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Mally Malone on 23 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover
"The Rage Against God" isn't a conventional work of apologetics. There are already plenty of those out there. This book is less about theory than about practice. Why do people really reject or accept God? Why is their rejection of God often so very virulent? What part has religion played in recent English history? How important was atheism to the history of communism, and to the cultural revolution that swept through the Western world in the last few decades?

The first part of the book-- essentially a memoir of Peter Hitchens's changing attitudes to religion-- is the most readable. Hitchens is at his best when he's evoking the England of his childhood. (At one point he apologises for indulging this tendency. He shouldn't.) I relished his description of Evensong ("the very heart of English Christianity"), of his boyhood feelings of utter security while lying in bed and listening to the sirens of ocean liners in Portsmouth harbour, of the austere and stoical Remembrance Sunday ceremony ("No outsider could possibly have penetrated its English mystery, or imagined that we were in fact enjoying ourselves, But we were.".)

But the very particularity of this book, though it makes it a powerful memoir, somewhat limits its importance as a tract. Hitchens is writing primarily about English Christianity, and its long decline (which, he shows, long predated his own childhood). As an anglophile and an admirer of Hitchens's writing, I found it enthralling. As an Irish Catholic, I found it of limited relevance. Hitchens devotes a long section to criticising (affectionately and reverentially) the surrogate religion of English patriotism. He's also scathing about the modernising tendencies within the Church of England.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Roderick Blyth on 25 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a short and interesting book in which Peter Hitchens looks at religion in a personal, social and political context. In fact, the personal element is confined to demonstrating how Mr Hitchens moved from the outright rejection of Christianity fairly typical to the clever boys of his generation to a position in which Christianity has become for him the ultimate guarantee of truth, decency and humanity in a corrupt, debased and increasingly intolerant world.

This personal perspective, is, in some ways, the most interesting part of the book. To move from Trotsky to Jesus Christ in less than half a lifetime is something of a pilgrimage, though the misidentification between the two, and Che Guevara for that matter, is not as uncommon as you might think.

In fact, one sees in the Young Peter Hitchens (on whom Old Peter Hitchens is somewhat severe) a not uncommendable fury at the diet of lies and hypocrisy which his generation were invited to swallow about the system that presided over the second war and the system that tried to deny its true consequences for the nation. But that angry generation itself is now seen by Hitchens as having fallen for shallow, and self-indulgent alternatives posited on sexual licence, material selfishness and moral cowardice under the comfortable shelter of liberal righteousness.

For Mr Hitchens, as for the Psalmist 'the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom' (Psalm 111.10). The oppression and moral squalor which he later witnessed in 1990 in Moscow, and the terror and viciousness to which he almost fell victim two years lare in Mogadishu became a touchstone to test two views of humanity.
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