I've both read it and listened to this, several times now, and thought I'd wait a bit before adding my comments.
As an audiobook, it's superb - well read, and yes, the two voices work.
As a book, the content is remarkable, well-thought through and devastating - yes, Dawkins has strongly held views and a real anger about religion, its sources and its consequences. It is the book that atheists and agnostics who previously weren't sure why they felt what they felt have been waiting for - it articulates all their concerns.
Which is why, religious readers, simply dismissing it is both foolish and counter-productive. If we cannot read it, respect its honesty (even if we disagree) and counter its arguments intelligently and thoughtfully, other than by stamping our feet and sticking our fingers in our ears then we have no right to take the high ground. (And getting personal and vindictive is hardly Christian!)
Know your enemy, and work out the best way to deal with him! Are we really so insecure about our beliefs that we cannot counter Dawkins on his own ground, intellectually?
This book is a beautifully narrated, well researched, scientific and philosophical analysis of theism. It comprehensively covers virtually all the academic questions one is likely to ask of religion. In general the cited examples show a bias towards the analysis of Christianity within the United Kingdom and United States of America.
It does however have some idiosyncrasies, the structure and vocabulary has academic tone. The book is not difficult to comprehend, but the meticulous use of referencing does lend itself to frequent repeated listening (perhaps a chapter at a time) if one is to fully appreciate the detail within the work.
Dawkins is a evangelical atheist and never prentends to be anything else and this is his reasoning behind his position.
I applaud the use of two voices (Dawkins and Ward) - it works well indeed.
A fascinating argument which occasionally can repeat itself but is nevertheless well worth the investment in time.
This is an excellent book and it works very well with Richard Dawkins reading with his wife Lalla Ward. Dawkins argues against religion and never looses one's interest. He is knowledgable, amusing and devastating.Listen and open your mind if you are religious or listen and bolster your arguments if you are not. Then buy the book and read it and then read Dawkins' other books. He teaches difficult things so even I understand!
Unlike 'Geoff' from Stockton-on-Tees (a previous reviewer of this work), I have had the benefit of actually listening to the book, and having read most of the rest of the Dawkins oeuvre besides. His writing is never less than exhilarating, and very often devastating. For me, the key theme is his critique of religion as an all-purpose excuse-generating mechanism, whether it is providing the justification for wars, discrimination or plain ignorance about the natural world. Alas, those who are too intellectually cowardly to listen beyond the preview will never experience the thrill and/or challenge of Dawkins' arguments.
I also feel that the book benefits from having been presented in this two-narrator audiobook form, and wonder whether Professor Dawkins' publishers have considered giving his other works a similar treatment.
The audio content of this recording is excellently presented by Dawkins and his wife, Lalla Ward, who alternate speaking to very good effect. Dawkins is at his most interesting and persuasive when talking about his specialist subject, evolutionary science, and has got a great deal to say about a wide range of other subjects. The book ranges from theology to social sciences to physics to ethics and the listener picks up some fascinating titbits of information and anecdotes along the way.
Unfortunately, I felt that Dawkins? passion for his cause, combined with his layman?s knowledge on the majority of the themes, leads to several rather irritating and poorly thought-out assertions which diminish the overall message of the book. I was left feeling short-changed after yet another sweeping dismissal of a complicated theological area and desperate to hear the other side of the story.
Overall, this book will open your mind to a wide range of discussion topics and give you much food for thought. I would, however, consider the abridged version as 15 hours of the author?s rhetoric gets a little wearying.
The writer puts into plain English, what I have always instinctively felt, this straightforward analysis of what humans insist on believing, and more to the point 'why' they believe often against all common sense, was a joy to listen to...Dawkins examines why religion in all its forms, persists, and tries to explain how this has arisen from a Darwinian standpoint. This type of book is important I feel, due to the rise of the 'intelegent design' lobby particularly in the US, who threaten to cripple the teaching of science in schools... like the other reviewer , I am better off for this pure common sense book...well done Richard
The aim of the book: to turn the reader into someone who denies all things supernatural; worked on me. And I feel all the better for it - and I didn't know I would.
After all, Professor Dawkins is challenging some of the most deeply held beliefs of human beings and doing so unapologetically.
I feel rather embarrassed on Professor Dawkins's behalf. He does not patronize the believer, unlike most theologians and philosophers. He's doing something they should be doing but are not. And what is that? Telling the facts about religion. Most believers would be distraught (as I myself was once) if they were to discover just how unashamedly professional theologians, biblical scholars, and apologists lie to 'the flock'. They seem to be of the opinion that 'the sheep needs simple faith', though 'of course we scholars have a much more sophisticated view of things.'
This is a great book, worthy of all the praise it gets. All open-minded people should read this book. Closed-minded folk won't get through it as it may be prove too damaging to their delicately structured, dogma-insulated mentalities.
The audio book's not available in Italy, where I live and I had to buy a hard copy in Britain. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Running scared, are they? So they should be.
As Dawkins so rightly points out, so many religious people haven't even read their own religion's 'sacred' texts and don't even understand their religion in the slightest and, indeed, have never questioned it, but merely follow theocratic dogma blindly.
I urge everyone to read, or listen to, this book. It will, at the very least, make religious people examine themselves and their religion and will help atheists and would-be atheists understand just how very dangerous religion, and especially blind faith, really are and how our lives are affected negatively by religion and ?faith-heads? on a daily basis.
I congratulate and thank Richard Dawkins.