Category «BOOKS»

Book Review: Tyranny from Plato to Trump by Andrew Fiala

Francis Fukuyama was an optimist. In his 1992 book The End of History and the Last Man, he put forth the proposition (if you’ll forgive my oversimplification) that, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, Western liberal democracy had finally gained a permanent foothold and there would, ultimately, be no returning to …

21st Century Iconoclasm

Thoughts on the new book Smashing Statues by Erin L. Thompson  On the night of January 20, 2022, workers in New York City removed an 82-year-old statue of Teddy Roosevelt from its location outside the American Museum of Natural History. The statue depicts the late president mounted heroically on a horse, with a pair of men (one …

When We Cease to Understand the World

A review of Benjamin Labatut’s award-nominated collection. They are well-worn clichés: the scientist as tortured genius; the idiot savant who peers unblinkingly into the secrets of the universe while forgetting to eat or bathe; or, at the most superficial, scientists as hopeless nerds, whip-smart but clueless when it comes to “regular” people and their quotidian …

Book Review: Einstein: His Life and Universe

[Originally posted on March 19, 2008 at AmericanFreethought.com.] Walter Isaacson’s celebrated biography Einstein: His Life and Universe proves one thing: while Albert Einstein was not the greatest scientist who ever lived, he’s one of the greatest thinkers who ever lived. He wasn’t a scientist in the sense we might think, overseeing experiments and poring meticulously over data; rather, Einstein was a …

Book Review: War on Error by Melody Moezzi

[Originally posted on March 10, 2008 at AmericanFreethought.com.] If there’s one point author Melody Moezzi drives home in her new book War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims, it’s that American Muslims have their work cut out for them these days. They are, to coin a phrase, caught between two worlds. The English name “Melody” …

Book Review: Jesus for the Non-Religious

Bishop John Shelby Spong’s controversial demolition and (hopeful) rehabilitation of Jesus of Nazareth. [Originally posted February 10, 2008 at AmericanFreethought.com.] Jesus was born in a perfectly natural way in Nazareth. His mother was not the icon of virgin purity.  His earthly father, Joseph, was a literary creation. His family thought he [Jesus] was out of his …

Book Review: Freedom Evolves by Daniel Dennett

In this book from 2003, philosopher Daniel Dennett (Breaking the Spell) tries to reconcile free will and Darwinian theory. [Originally posted October 2004 at SciFiDimensions.com; re-posted on February 3, 2008 at AmericanFreethought.com.] Does free will exist? It’s a thorny issue that philosophers have tangled with for millennia. And despite the occasional claim of victory, the …

Book Review: Evolution’s Captain

A review of Peter Nichols’ biography of Robert Fitzroy, captain of the H.M.S. Beagle [Originally posted in February 2004 at SciFiDimensions.com; re-posted on February 2, 2008 at AmericanFreethought.com.] Every schoolchild and amateur scientist knows (or should) that Charles Darwin began developing his ideas about evolution and the origin of species while on a round-the-world voyage aboard …