THE FOUR HORSEMEN by Christopher Hitchens

THE FOUR HORSEMEN

The Conversation that Sparked an Atheist Revolution
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A commemoration of the only extended conversation the four bestselling authors ever had.

It was the loosest of confederations that united these “Four Horsemen” of the literary atheist apocalypse. The publication, around the same time, of bestselling challenges to organized religion by neuroscientist Harris, philosopher Dennett, biologist Dawkins, and journalist/essayist Hitchens linked them in the public’s mind, as each of them participated in increasingly public debate on the ascendance of atheism and the decline of religious faith. The bulk of this slim volume is a transcript of a two-hour cocktail conversation among the four, in 2007, at the annual conference of the Atheist Alliance International, filmed by the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and subsequently available on DVD and YouTube. Padding what would otherwise be a 90-page transcript in large print are a biographical and contextual introduction by Stephen Fry (“sitting in on these dialogues…reminds us that open enquiry, free thinking and the unfettered exchange of ideas yield real and tangible fruit”), a new essay by Dawkins (“The Hubris of Religion, the Humility of Science, and the Intellectual and Moral Courage of Atheism”), and considerably shorter introductory pieces by Dennett and Harris. Though the conversation has plenty of wit and bite, it is the atheist equivalent of preaching to the choir, capable of reinforcing convictions but unlikely to topple or change any. It’s a convivial conversation without agenda, as the four thinkers try to figure out what they’re collectively trying to accomplish and what the best outcome might be. Dawkins takes the hardest line, hoping that organized religion will simply disappear as the world comes to its collective senses; Harris is the most mystical, confirming the sacred and practicing meditation while distancing both from God; Hitchens wants the debate to continue forever; and Dennett appreciates some of what churches do, though not what they believe.

Mostly for devotees of the New Atheism. More than a decade later, not much has changed, as the faithful and the skeptics continue to talk past each other.

Pub Date: March 19th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-525-51195-3
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2018




MORE BY CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS

NonfictionAND YET... by Christopher Hitchens
by Christopher Hitchens
NonfictionMORTALITY by Christopher Hitchens
by Christopher Hitchens
NonfictionARGUABLY by Christopher Hitchens
by Christopher Hitchens

MORE BY RICHARD DAWKINS

NonfictionSCIENCE IN THE SOUL by Richard Dawkins
by Richard Dawkins
NonfictionBRIEF CANDLE IN THE DARK by Richard Dawkins
by Richard Dawkins
NonfictionTHE MAGIC OF REALITY by Richard Dawkins
by Richard Dawkins
NonfictionTHE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH by Richard Dawkins
by Richard Dawkins
NonfictionTHE GOD DELUSION by Richard Dawkins
by Richard Dawkins

MORE BY SAM HARRIS

NonfictionISLAM AND THE FUTURE OF TOLERANCE by Sam Harris
by Sam Harris
NonfictionWAKING UP by Sam Harris
by Sam Harris
NonfictionHAM by Sam Harris
by Sam Harris

MORE BY DANIEL C. DENNETT

NonfictionFROM BACTERIA TO BACH AND BACK by Daniel C. Dennett
by Daniel C. Dennett
NonfictionINTUITION PUMPS AND OTHER TOOLS FOR THINKING by Daniel C. Dennett
by Daniel C. Dennett
NonfictionBREAKING THE SPELL by Daniel C. Dennett
by Daniel C. Dennett

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionFROM BACTERIA TO BACH AND BACK by Daniel C. Dennett
by Daniel C. Dennett
NonfictionTHE GOD DELUSION by Richard Dawkins
by Richard Dawkins