The Rage Against God Paperback – 6 Feb 2011
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
The book starts out biographically and summaries why Peter turned to Atheism, and why he turned back to Theism. He then goes onto consider the argument that Atheism doesn't need God to decide what is right and wrong. Next he considers the myth that Atheist states are not evil. He refutes these arguments not through philosophy or science, but simply through his own experiences of Communist Russia. He looks at some of the ways that regime damaged humans lives, did acts that were simply horrendous and all in the name of the `common good'.
Finally, and this is the part of the book that left me with Goosebumps, was his comments on Dawkins' argument that raising children in a faith is equivalent to child abuse. It was horrifying to see how close such Atheist statements were to Russian propaganda (illustrations given in the book), and really made one consider what the future of our society held if we continue like this. Such a future most certainly includes the wilful limitation of rights in accordance with such Atheist manifestos.
Its harrowing to see how this was recently attempted by Harriet Harmans' Equality Bill, which wanted to dictate that one no longer had a choice on what they thought about homosexuality, or other personal beliefs they held. According to the Act if one discriminated against another they would be `criminally' liable (emphasis added).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great admirer of Peter Hitchens work, extremely refreshing to hear a firm conservative voice in the midst of the liberal and theological flimflam currently plaguing the religious... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
Hitchens is especially dangerous as a writer because he often writes well and, being outside of the tradition of nauseating conformism among the chattering classes, appeals to most... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Giles Penfold
An excellent book, informative, well-written, providing first hand experience of the sordid sequels of Soviet life in Moscow. Read morePublished 3 months ago by michael shanks
This book is wonderful for explaining how and why everything's gone so wrong. Thank you Peter.Published 4 months ago by Catherine Kersey
A fantastic read by a brilliant mind. Mr Hitchens is a gentleman too.Published 4 months ago by stephanie stamatiou
One of the main draws for this book is that it comes from the brother of Christopher Hitchens who was a very prominent Atheist. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mr Peter J Warren
This book has one selling point: The fact that the author is a Christian and the brother of the world famous atheist/anti-theist Christopher Hitchens. Read morePublished 11 months ago by NoWireHangers2
Thought provoking and interesting book from Peter Hitchens. You will enjoy this.Published 11 months ago by andrew martin