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Humanism: An Introduction by [Herrick, Jim]
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Humanism: An Introduction Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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About the Author

Jim Herrick (London, UK) is editor in chief of the Rationalist Press Association, literary editor of the New Humanist, formerly editor of the Freethinker and of the International Humanist News, and the author of a number of books on the history of humanism. He has written two books on the history of freethought and has worked in the humanist movement for over 25 years. Herrick, previously a school teacher, has carried out non-religious ceremonies including funerals, weddings and same sex affirmations. The international dimension to humanism is very important to him and he has traveled to meet humanists in many parts of the world.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 999 KB
  • Print Length: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (11 Dec. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0030I1XNW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #283,519 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Or alternatively, we could subtitle this book 'In search of a point of view.'

Good things first. This is a much better introduction to humanism than Peter Cave's truly awful attempt. It is easy to read, non dogmatic and makes many interesting and thought provoking points. There is little I would disagree with, except some political points which are rather left wing for my taste (this means they are VERY left wing) and which have little to do with humanism anyway. I found the section on the history of humanism very interesting.

It remains however a rather academic work, and like A C Grayling's latest book, puts a lot of emphasis on the individual working things out, in an intellectual way, for him or herself. In this it excludes most of the human population from accessing humanism, which is a pity.

On the down side, the author reminds me very much of a butterfly - extremely difficult to pin down. Much of the text is full of unresolved questions. Often when making a point, the author will follow this with an alternative point of view and leave the matter open. I am sure this type of approach earns points from the academic establishment, but it has limited value in the real world. I kept wanting to ask, in my frustration - 'yes, but what do YOU think?'.

In the end, I found the whole thing rather depressing. Jim Herrick's vision doesn't go much further than trying to 'make life a bit more bearable' and refusing to take a position on anything.

So overall worth reading, given the shortage of good titles on this subject, but hardly a strong recommendation for humanism generally.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fascinating subject matter. Written very clearly and objectively. An easy read along the lines of live and let live. Putting over points without decring religious beliefs.
No problems with order.
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Format: Paperback
This book delivers what it promises: a clear, concise presentation of the humanist outlook. As a general introduction, it poses many of the questions that humanists grapple with: What are good and evil? Should neo-Nazis be given the right to free speech? Is the value of nuclear power greater than the risk of pollution or accident? Should RE in schools be abolished? Should someone who wishes to die be helped to do so? But appropriately, given its aim and scope, it leaves the deeper exploration of these problems to other writers. Well organised into short chapters focusing on separate aspects of the topic – e.g. humanism and morality, humanism and science, humanism and the environment – it's lucid, informative, open-minded and fair, and a useful springboard to further exploration.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars 11 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is a 'first' book as in my 'First Book About Humanism." Those with more than background will be disappointed. 4 April 2014
By Ian Kluge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is for absolute beginners who really don't have a clue about humanism. Anyone else is bound to be disappointed or frustrated because there is little if any philosophical substance or insight here, just the sketchiest outline of what humanism is - at least in the Anglo-American tradition. There is not a word here about Jaspers, Sartre or Heidegger for example, and humanism on the Continent. With these caveats in mind, this book has the virtue of being written in a clear and engaging style, and being well-organized into relevant topic headings. It also introduces us to numerous humanist thinkers in the Anglo-American tradition, especially the English. If readers are interested in contacting the British and international humanist associations, they will find the references they need in this book.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too sketchy, even for an introduction 7 Jun. 2008
By Kerry Walters - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Introductory books are difficult to pull off. On the one hand, you want to present the subject matter in a way that novices can comprehend. But on the other hand, you don't want to dumb-down what you're writing about. As anyone knows who's ever tried to write an introductory text, this isn't an easy course to navigate.

Jim Herrick ambitiously offer an introductory exploration of a huge subject in his Humanism: An Introduction. Although Herrick is a good stylist and clear author, the result is mixed. He's at his best when discussing the history of humanism (chapter 2), humanistic responses to religion, morality and politics (chapters 3-6), and humanism and the environment (chapter 9). But he seems out of his depth in his exploration of humanism and science (chapter 7), his discussion of humanism and the arts seems platitudinous (chapter 8), and his rundown of institutionalized humanism (chapters 10 & 11) is boringly skip-worthy and way too long (taking up a full one-fifth of the book). Moreover, even the better chapters are short on argument and long on declaration. Finally, the book lacks a bibliography to guide further reading, an essential for any introductory volume.

So although Herrick's book isn't awful, there are better short introductions to humanism. Paul Kurtz's terse What Is Secular Humanism? (2007) may be the single best place to start. It's accessible but rigorous. Corliss Lamont's The Philosophy of Humanism (reprint, 1997) remains a classic, although dated in some sections. Margaret Knight's and Jim Herrick's Humanist Anthology From Confucious to Attenborough (1995) is a decent collection of primary sources. Finally, for those with a taste for Continental approaches, Sartre's Existentialism Is a Humanism (reprint, 2007) can't be beat.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good starter book on Humanism 5 Oct. 2015
By Freethinker21 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Humanism: An Introduction
A great starter book for someone who wants to learn more about Humanism. It is a bit less in-depth for the advance humanist reader.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book on Humanism, touches on all the many good things of Humanism. 6 Feb. 2017
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy understand and defines what humanism really is.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Overview of a Multifaceted Topic 19 Jan. 2009
By Brian R. Hill - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Humanism is a term that often appears in the media but which is seldom defined. "Humanism: An Introduction" by Jim Herrick could very well provide just about everything the average person would ever need to know about humanism. Short, succinct, and very readable chapters cover humanism plays its part in morality, religion, science, the arts, and even the environment. Chapters at the book's end tell of humanistic organizations' history and purposes. The chapter "Humanist Action and Humanist Living" tells how humanistic attitudes and values can be implemented outside the realm of academia.
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