Customer Reviews for

The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer

Average Rating 4.5
( 65 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(38)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

16 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Great for research

Occasionally, I require a well documented collection of works on a single subject. Hitchens' The Portable Atheist is just one of those books.

As a journalist and commentator (Columbia Missourian and InkandVoice.com) I need to have a broader reach than my own feeble l...
Occasionally, I require a well documented collection of works on a single subject. Hitchens' The Portable Atheist is just one of those books.

As a journalist and commentator (Columbia Missourian and InkandVoice.com) I need to have a broader reach than my own feeble library can give me, and I do not have graduate students to do the research I need. The information found in this text is supportive of Hitchens' personal truths and of what Victor Stenger calls "naturalism" and some call "sciencism." You will find nothing here to support any of the world's great or minor religous beliefs.

For those in search of the "meaning of life," Hitchens does not provide a spiritual or mystical answer. His collection of writings, from ancient to modern, science and philosophy, is designed to make the unsure think, the nonbeliever grounds for support and the believer new arguments.

What the reader will find missing in this collection is the anger that is usually found in Hitchens and other new atheist writings. By selecting works of others, the reader can forgo the evangelical zeal associated with the new atheist movement as they can avoid the zeal of the neo-Christian and Islamic movements.

Do not think about reading this in a single sitting or, for many, from front of back covers. Hitchens maintains the integrity of language and thought and does not provide commentary or interpretation; he leaves that up to the reader.

If your goal is theological, philosophical, scientific or political argument, persuasion or understanding, this is a must for your personal research library.

posted by ProfDave on January 2, 2010

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 75 people found this review helpful.

Pathetic

I am a Christian Apologist and I read this book to gain some insight into the arguments atheists have against God.

I approached the book with as much objectivity as I could, and I have to say, I am unimpressed. What I conclude in reading the book is that you have to ...
I am a Christian Apologist and I read this book to gain some insight into the arguments atheists have against God.

I approached the book with as much objectivity as I could, and I have to say, I am unimpressed. What I conclude in reading the book is that you have to do a lot of denial and mind manipulation to be a practicing atheist.

posted by BelieverJZ on December 5, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 2
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2008

    Thoughtful Treatises on Reason

    A thought-provoking compilation of writings from scientists, philosophers, writers, and other great minds. Hitchens' brief introductions to each author's writings are witty and brilliant as usual, as is his main introduction to the book. Wonderful, compelling writing that expounds on the rationalist view and highlights the importance of the use of reason as a test for all of our ideas.

    16 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2007

    A reviewer

    Someone ask: who is Chistopher Hitchen's audience 'another review'? It is academia or his peers and the rest of us secondarily by necessity. His sentence expressions can be a struggle, but to anyone intelligent he is a disciplined thinker and assimilates ideas from renowned contributors. Few of us experience the kind of scrutiny, nor possess the drive to achieve what Mr. Hitchens has accomplished. Some of us try. I am an obsessive golfer and just average plus, despite my best efforts. Players do golf under par, but few, and it requires total physical and mental effort to bring down their score. That does not mean a wider audience cannot appreciate the achievers that do exhibit rare expertise and persuasive skills either in a frivolous game or on a profound topic. To digress a little more - I am reminded of what Bobby Knight 'coach' said during an interview '60 Minutes' as he discussed Indiana's recruitment of High School Standouts. He mentioned that one such standout asserted that he was going to help them out. Mr Knight responded to him in a way that was classic: 'no we are going to help you out!' We should not be so smug, most of us are not as smart of good as we think we are. An open mind affects one's ability to study and/or learn something that is hard to digest or grasp and will also add to one's presence. The theory of biological evolution falls in the category of complex subject matter. I would recommend the PBS series on Evolution for a great introduction 'Netflick has all this educational type stuff'. This kind of learning is different than dogmatic script and so are the rewards. On another point, and I can speak for the world, many of us 'not me but a few relatives and friends' are screwed up so completely that we may be doomed before our time. Believe me, if bad things happen, it won't be due to the predictions in Revelations, but mankind's assult on mother earth. Mr. Hitchen's appeal for sanity from all this whackyness is refreshing 'Includes politicians too!'. For those individuals with their heads full of nonsense with esoteric group think, you might want to ponder this question: Is this where I should be in my brief life? Incidentally, I'm a christian whose bible has been picked nearly clean by scientific discovery and reason, but there is still some good stuff left. However, I'm sure that I no longer meet the fit, no real Christians seem to accept me, but they have changed too, it used to be worse - think inquistion, etc. Anyway, keep up the courageous work Mr. Hitchens, truth to thyself matters.

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    If You Feel Alone

    If you feel alone in your disbelief, this book can be a good touchstone. I find myself reading through it a few times throughout the year. This book's collection of freethinkers' essays is a must in the library of those who are not sure about a god or are sincerely certain there is no god.
    Good reading and thinking to you.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 2, 2011

    Thought provoking.

    Religion is absurd, this book does justice in favor of reason and logic. Very well researched.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Interesting

    Despite the fact that Mr. Hitchens is a bit too impressed with himself and condescending towards others this book is well researched and thought out. It has sparked several conversations in my household.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 2, 2012

    Highly recommended with reservations

    The late, great Christopher Hitchens has left us an enormous, now parting gift. Ever wonder what were the underpinnings of atheism? We see examples from history and philosophy, psychology, sociology, and much from organized religions. Examples from literature, art, music and politics abound. My only quibble is in the uninspired titling and lack of artwork. Maybe in a revised edition?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Great collection

    Good base of knowledgeable and logical thoughts for non believers. Not surprised religious people bash it, but dont let it keep you from reading it if you use your frontal lobe.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

    concise, classic Hitchens

    I like the strength in his writing. This opens the door for follow up reading in the bibliography.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    A Tough Read but Worth the Effort

    This well-chosen selection of humanist and atheistic source material ranges in difficulty from the easily understanable but emotionally evocative story of a young female Muslim apostate living with the ramifications of her realization that Allah is a hoax to the elevated philosophical arguments of Spinoza and Hume which bear reading and re-reading to divine the subtleties of their logic. Hitch remains out of the spotlight for the most part, content to serve as a literary master of ceremonies in introducing each selection.

    This is most definitely a worthy reference volume for atheists and freethinkers who seek a bit of a challenge, but will be rewarded with a deeper appreciation for the power of human reason.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2012

    Hitchens words live forever.

    This great man had somthing to say. He always said it and said it well.i dont know the next time someone like him may come about. I recomend you read this and anything eles he put out.
    It will raise your contiousness and expand your mind. Thank humanity for Christopher Hitchens.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 2