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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2012
"This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill.... " Morpheus, The Matrix 1999.

Hitchens does not set out to disprove the existence of God. During the book he does point out some of the glaring inconsistencies and sickening immoralities contained in the main religious texts. But this is not its main focus. What he does is attack in devastating and visceral terms the last real defence upon which religions fall back - that we need them to make us behave better. Hitchens exposes the murder; needless death; restriction of free thought and scientific progress; child abuse (both physical and mental); and repression that are not just incidental to, but an essential part of all major religions.

The book is articulately argued by someone whose command of English is outstanding, without becoming inaccessible (with the minor exception of chapter 18) or verbose. The arguement in chapter 17 is a little weak, but apart from that the main point of the book is relentlessly driven home in an often witty way.

For believers - you may want to stick with the blue pill and not read the book.
For me this book burned away any semblence of doubt that religion is a good thing. This book is the red pill. It will free your mind.
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143 of 147 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2012
Christopher Hitchens died last year and until he died I had never heard of him. I read eulogies from his fellow journalists and then heard no more until last week when, by chance, I came across some video clips of Hitchens speaking about his views on religion and I found them fascinating.

I then found that Hitchens had written a book, God is not Great: how religion poisons everything. I bought the book and have now read it.

Firstly, I have only read a couple of chapters of Richard Dawkins The God Delusion and I have to say that Hitchens did a far better job than Dawkins.

Religious people do not like God is not Great. Not because it tests their faith but because of what it reveals about what goes on in the name of religion. Hitchens tells us, almost in passing, that he has received death threats, nasty phone calls and threats of violence for holding his view that he believes that religions poison everything.

Having been born and brought up in a country where freedom of speech is taken for granted, I wonder at who it could be that would so object to someone's views that they threaten murder. That's for their conscience!

As for the book, it is entertainingly written and full of stories aimed at the three main monotheisms: Christianity, Jewry, Islam. He regales us with story after story of the things that clerics hiding under these three banners get up to and have got up to for millennia. Hitchens reveals a great number of sources too: he's not just letting off steam.

I have to say that I read this book for the overview it provided and not to learn the deep and detailed information that Hitchens sometimes goes into: it's there if you want it, of course.

I like Hitchens' style as it is keen, ascerbic, funny, witty, well sourced and contains many words that I had never come across before. At least it will improve your vocabulary.

I have to say that another motivation for reading the book is that I arrived at a similar position to Hitchens vis a vis religion over the last two or three years having seen religious brainwashing and its consequences at first hand. No God will work in that way with those people: something else is most definitely going on and I could support these things no longer, having realised what was happening.

I imagine there will be people who read this mini review and who might feel angry with me for having written it: well, that's for you to come to terms with. I am glad I read the book, I learned many things about religions that I did not previously know and Hitchens gives a message that we all ought to consider. You do not have to agree with him!

What's wrong with the book? Well, Hitchens has a mission, to clarify why he thinks religions poison everything. He gives no time to the good that good people in religions often do. He does not attempt to redress any imbalances in his arguments at all in this respect. If he were alive to answer this point I am sure he would ask, why on earth should I?

Overall, if you are deeply committed to your religion you might not want to read this book but I think you should suspend your faith, read it and then explore fully what Hitchens has to say. Don't dismiss this book with anger in your heart! If you give Hitchens a fair hearing and stick to your guns then fine.

I recommend this book to everyone but if your English reading skills are weak, it will be difficult for you: Hitchens' English language skills are highly developed and he's writing for an educated audience. No offence to anyone, just a friendly warning!

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2012
After watching many debates in which Hitchens systematically picked apart many of the world's religions, I though that I must get this, the Hitchens 'Bible', for want of a better term.

An exquisite book with complex yet accessible arguments against a myriad aspects of almost every popular religion in the world. His case against Buddhism, as just one example, is both provocative and vindicating; highly educational.

A fantastic book for the non-believer, or the agnostic, or even the theist.
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404 of 438 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2009
This book is EXTREMELY well written. Witty, informative, and determined.

Many one-star-ers have noted that this book is one of two things:

1. The Atheist Camp claim that this book is not as 'good' as the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins - the arguments are difficult to follow, it's not as scientific or academic as it might be.

Well, Christopher is not a scientist. The book is a fantastic diatribe against the parties of God - it doesn't claim to be anything more. It's a wonderful contribution to atheistic literature. It's funny, clever and well-researched. It's not supposed to be an academic thesis.

2. The God Camp claim that Hitchens succeed in attacking religion, but doesn't manage to prove that God himself does not exist.

While he outlines his reasons for not believing in God, Hitchens does not set out to prove that God does not exist. He sets out to do what it says underneath his main title - to demonstrate how religion poisons everything - and he does a fantastic job.

This book is highly recommended to those who want to laugh and cry at the same time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2012
Following Hitchens death, like may others, I decided to give him a proper read, by which I mean more than the journalism alone. I was not disappointed and found his turn of phrase as enjoyable as I had hoped and his use of examples educational. I doubt he will change many minds in this text alone but it's a great example of stating your case in the face of accepted and cherished ignorance. He really helped me to sharpen my own views.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2009
I saw debates with Christopher Hitchens online.. He's very astute if not a little snobbish. I didnt think Id enjoy reading his book. Yes I wanted to hear what he had to say and read what he had to write but I thought Id be put off by his character..However nothing was further from the truth. His style is Hammerhitting yet entertaining and pleasurable to read. His knowledge of the subject admirable. He has convinced me even more that there is no God. So I guess his work is a success.
Please read this book. the whole world should know its content.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2011
I must admit Hitchens is preaching to the converted in my case. This is an excellent and impassioned book, as you would expect if you know anything of the author. It gives heartbreaking examples of how the wilful ignorance and tribalism intrinsic to the fundamentally religious has destroyed opportunities for peace, held back science and reason, and allowed a religious ruling class to hold on to power in so much of the world. I am an atheist but I want to really understand why, even in modern times in the West, so many smart and good people are voluntarily religious given that it has such a lot to answer for in terms of the world's ills. I hope the Hitch beats cancer and writes and debates for many more years!
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466 of 514 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2007
Firstly - I've read the US version of this book, "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything", this is why I can write a review.

If you just want to comment on Hitchens/Atheism in general (either for or against) then please do it somewhere else!

I wasn't the greatest Hitchens fan but I have to admit that this book is something special. It's well written with lots of entertaining anecdotes and is easily more readable than Dawkins "The God Delusion". The pages fly by and his points are interesting and well made.

Obviously I was expecting a rabid attack on all things godly yet Hitchens turns out to be cleverer than that. He insists that people should be free to believe what they want - they just shouldn't try to force their beliefs on others. There's the expected examination of the Abrahamic religions here (yes, including Islam) but also critiques of other faiths too. Intelligent and inventive, this was far far better than the book that I was expecting.

Overall it's a great read with a convincing message that has convinced me to look at Hitchens back catalogue to see what other gems are hidden there...

I dare you to read this!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2012
A thoughtful and intelligent book that questions and debunks religion in all it's forms. Only the truly faithful can resist the clean and clear conclusion that (any) God is not great and belief systems such as these really do poison everything. An easy but compelling read that will surprise as well as inform you whatever your particular delusion. Don't be afraid.

Resistance is futile !
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298 of 330 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2007
This book is a worthy companion to Dawkins "The God Delusion". Whereas Dawkins is a scientist, this author takes more of a historical perspective.

I have read a great deal of the current fashion of these type of books. I have enjoyed them all, but Hitchens is perhaps the best of all. He is fearless and expresses himself with great eloquence. You really have to admire his convictions, even if you do not agree with his every point.

Hitchens shows why he believes religion to be a consequence of our evolutionary childhood, why he believes it should not be considered a source of morality and all the ways in which it has demonstrated (he believes) its tendency to forster totalitarian malevolence.

It is unfortunate that many of the reviews posted are vitreolic arguements from pro- or anti-creationists. Clearly many people take great offence to their faith being questioned. But surely if ones faith is trully strong, they should be able to respond to such challenges in a positive way? It is scarcely likely that a book is going to change your lifelong held beliefs, so surely it can be read with an open mind as to understanding other peoples point of view.

The only criticism I would make of this book is that sometimes too much knowledge is assumed of the reader. At times I found myself having to contentrate quite hard as I was not overly familiar with the historical events.
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Customers who viewed this item also viewed
The God Delusion
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (Paperback - 21 May 2007)

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens (Paperback - 3 Oct. 2013)


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