The Atheist: Madalyn Murray O'Hair

The Atheist: Madalyn Murray O'Hair

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by Bryan F. Le Beau, Bryan F. Beau
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0814751725

ISBN-13: 9780814751725

Pub. Date: 03/01/2005

Publisher: New York University Press

In 1964, Life magazine called Madalyn Murray O’Hair “the most hated woman in America.” Another critic described her as “rude, impertinent, blasphemous, a destroyer not only of beliefs but of esteemed values.”

In this first full-length biography, Bryan F. Le Beau offers a penetrating assessment of O’Hair’s beliefs

Overview

In 1964, Life magazine called Madalyn Murray O’Hair “the most hated woman in America.” Another critic described her as “rude, impertinent, blasphemous, a destroyer not only of beliefs but of esteemed values.”

In this first full-length biography, Bryan F. Le Beau offers a penetrating assessment of O’Hair’s beliefs and actions and a probing discussion of how she came to represent both what Americans hated in their enemies and feared in themselves. Born in 1919, O’Hair was a divorced mother of two children born out of wedlock. She launched a crusade against God, often using foul language as she became adept at shocking people and making effective use of the media in delivering her message. She first gained notoriety as one of the primary litigants in the 1963 case Murray v. Curlett which led the Supreme Court to ban school prayer. The decision stunned a nation engaged in fighting “godless Communism” and made O’Hair America’s most famous—and most despised—atheist.

O’Hair led a colorful life, facing assault charges and extradition from Mexico, as well as the defection of her son William, who as an adult denounced her. She later served as Hustler publisher Larry Flynt’s chief speech writer in his bid for President of the United States.

Drawing on original research, O’Hair’s diaries, and interviews, Le Beau traces her development from a child of the Depression to the dictatorial, abrasive woman who founded the American Atheists, wrote books denouncing religion, and challenged the words “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, “In God We Trust” on American currency, the tax exempt status of religious organizations, and other activities she saw as violating the separation of church and state.

O’Hair remained a spokesperson for atheism until 1995, when she and her son and granddaughter vanished. It was later discovered that they were murdered by O’Hair’s former office manager and an accomplice.

Fast-paced, engagingly written, and sharply relevant to ongoing debates about school prayer and other religious issues, The Atheist tells the colorful life-story of a woman who challenged America’s most deeply held beliefs.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814751725
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
03/01/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
387
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents


1 Out of Obscurity
2 Murray v. Curlett
3 “The Most Hated Woman in America”
4 “The Atheist”
5 “Why I Am an Atheist”
6 Articulating the Atheist Position
7 O’Hair’s Prominence Recedes
8 O’Hair Retires

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The Atheist: Madalyn Murray O'Hair 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This woman made her mark in history. This book will help you understand how. Maybe even why.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book gives a good insight on Ms. O'Hair and many of her beliefs. Atheist or not, you will realize this woman will go down in history.