Wonderful book, from a wonderful man, read in his own inimitable voice. I dutifully read 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins, and agree passionately with his thesis, but even the most ardent supporter of Mr Dawkins has to worry that he might sound just a teeny bit wooden and geeky to the average reader. Here is a humanities man walking confidently and smilingly towards science from his natural habitat in a literature or history department. He speaks with such heart about human duplicity and the urge for power that you feel he sees inside the heads of the (intelligent) priesthood, using and abusing their gullible flocks, Indeed, Hitch actually seems to be quite tempted, mildly envious of the evangelists who use silky words to get into the knickers of their flocks, which infuses the whole book with a human insight very different from scientists (such as, say, Sam Harris) treating the same subject. Further illustrations of this difference in approach are the delicate snatches of piano music between chapters, and the pithy historical quotations kicking off each new chapter. I know Hitch is really gone, and I know he knew he would truly be no more, and I know he might have despised me for thinking otherwise, but for me he is still a little bit alive in my ipod. Dear man.
I'm glad to think that Bertrand Russell lived until 1970 and therefore long enough to see some of the liberal reforms for which he argued, come to fruition. In these essays from the early part of the 20th Century, he is too coy even to use the word 'homosexuality', but makes oblique references as he argues for greater tolerance. In a way, these essays have dated because our society has (thankfully) moved on so much. In his day he would have been dynamite!
...but they probably will not even try, which is the pity with this type of book. Sam Harris is thoughtful, clever, funny and scary. It might seem expensive for only 1 hour 56 mins - but I think you'll want to listen to it twice.