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Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness (Great Minds Series) Paperback – 20 Nov 2003

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8d09fbf4) out of 5 stars 13 reviews
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c444174) out of 5 stars Should be Required Literature in High School 6 Feb. 2000
By Eric Breitenstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
All people, religious or not, should read this book. Mr. Haught does a wonderful job of describing the horrors of what people will do to defend their gods. This is a book that will make anyone think twice about asserting that religion is only benevolent. Not that religion has no good, neither me nor Haught assert that, but we must all never allow ourselves to slide back to the smoke filled days of the Inquisition. The fact that this book discusses modern religious strife shows that holy hatred is not something of the past. It walks among us today, a shadow in the light of reason. We are not here to kill each other, unfortunately most people don't seem to agree. Thus our secular state: The first amendment doesn't protect us from God, it protects us from His followers. Unless you think Iran is a nice place to live, you'll believe in church-state separation after you read this.
36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c4441c8) out of 5 stars The Crimes of Religion 30 July 2000
By mrgrieves08 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is a very useful and enlightening guide to the history of religion, and its accompanying violence. In this expose Haught plays no favorites in exposing the crimes and inhumanities of Hindus, Moslems, Sikhs, Jews, and of course Catholics and Protestants. One of the striking things about this book is that it provides a revealing look into the nature of religious violence, and offers some valuable insights into the continuing religious violence and genocide today. Although practically everyone knows about the extermination of the Jews in WWII, few people think about why it happened. After reading this book, you will have a much better understanding about this horrible chapter in history. Afterall Germany was not an Atheistic country, it was strongly Protestant, what happened was the horrible result of centuries of built up hatred, caused ultimately by religion.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c444600) out of 5 stars A Basic Introduction to the Follies of Religion 19 Aug. 2000
By Bradley P. Rich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is scary! To read the assembled horrors that organized religion has visited on mankind is terrifying. This book covers all of the major religions, not just the familiar Christian tales of witchcraft and the Inquisition. However, note: it is just an introduction and is written on a pretty basic level. It would make a great junior high school text, except you can't imagine who would teach it.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c4445e8) out of 5 stars I was not impressed 31 Oct. 2005
By tuesday next - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
First off, let me say that I am an atheist and feel that religion is the most destructive human invention ever devised. Therefore, I was looking forward to reading this book. But for me it was rather disappointing.

As I was reading the book, I felt as though I was reading a student's term paper. The author covers numerous religious groups or time periods but in a very superficial manner. As a couple of reviewers already mentioned, the book is only 234 pages (243 with the biblio), 24 of those are full page illustrations (I know, the cover states "An Illustrated History") and the pages have unusually wide margins. In fact, the size of the margins was the first thing I noticed when I started to read the book. It's almost as though Haught didn't have enough material to fill enough pages to warrant publication. But even from what material is in the book, it is obvious that this book could have much longer and more detailed, giving it a more scholarly presentation.

Personally, I think that if an author is going to write about a controversial subject, it needs to be backed up with properly referenced facts. This book does not even come close. There is a section at the end of the book that the author calls a Bibliography but then he writes, "The following is a selected reading list, by topic." So does that mean that the books listed were used by the author as references or are some of these books just recommendations? It is rather difficult to tell because Haught uses no footnote notation. He repeatedly presents statements as fact, including historical information and figures (as in the number of deaths). He also has many direct quotes that have no reference. For example, the cover of the book highlights one corner and states, "Includes the 9-11-01 terrorist attack..." Within the text Haught includes a lengthy quote that is a translation of some of the writings found in the highjackers' notebooks in order to make the point that the 9-11 attackers were able to carry out their mission due to religious zeal - which I happen to agree with. But where did he get these quotes. I don't think he translated the notebooks themselves! Other quotes may state, "So and so said,..." but then there is no reference in the Bibliography to match up with the speaker. In addition, even if a reader was interested in following up with one of the recommended books, a significant number of them are 25 to over 100 years old. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but as some Amamzon customers may know, it's sometimes difficult to obtain a book that's over 10 or 15 years old - let alone the book titles listed as recommendations. Maybe others feel that I'm nitpicking but whenever I'm reading a book of non-fiction (especially a book that is historical, scientific or political) I look at the references to see where the author got his/her information.

I'm giving the book three stars because I feel that this is an important topic and I'm glad that author wrote about it. As he states in the book (p. 235), "As far as can be ascertained, no previous book has surveyed the phenomenon of religious homicide ["homicide" - I like that] in its entirety." I just wish the book was more thorough and that it backed up its information with better references.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c444ab0) out of 5 stars Wow! - I knew injustice was dealt out by religion - But wow! 4 Feb. 2003
By TX-Camera-Eye - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is an eye opening book. I knew religion has a horrible, murderous past that Hannibal Lector could only dream of. This book is a real eye opener and a truly sad tale of how much humanity has been and still is being brutalized in the name of god. It is embarrassing how much human ignorance is a tool twisted and used by the church to commit crimes against humanity. The amazing thing is Hitler can't even come close to the horrors of the church and its body count. He was but a drop in the bucket. This book also encompasses the horrors of many religions including ones I had only vaguely heard of, nor can I pronounce them correctly. I would say that every person considering a leap of faith should read this book first before throwing your soul into the hat so to speak.
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