Jack Huberman (ed.), The Quotable Atheist: Ammunition for Nonbelievers, Political Junkies, Gadflies, and Those Generally Hell-Bound (New York: Nation Books), 336pp
A very competent collection of the finest atheistic, agnostic and free-thinking quotes. Huberman's commentaries throughout the book are also rather amusing, as are many of his brief biographical summaries (though I was somewhat distressed to learn that Anonymous died in 2006). It is particularly interesting to learn just how many famous atheists and agnostics had a devout religious upbringing or background...
However, The Quotable Atheist lacks an overall argument; like many books on this subject, it does not really know whether it wants to attack the silly idea of the existence of a 'God' or rail against the corruptions and hypocrisies of man-made religion. Consequently, it does both with mixed results. The alphabetical order of the book also contributes to this lack of focus - the reader is, for example, exposed to quotes from Liam Gallagher in between those of the much more attention-worthy Galileo and Gandhi. Furthermore, there is the usual criticism one can lob at atheist literature that it is, if you'll excuse the inappropriateness of the phrase, preaching to the choir. Believers aren't going to be changed by this book; rather, it is a light read for people who already find the ideas contained within to be agreeable.
"Do I really believe this book will convert believers and turn them from the path of self-righteousness to the path of righteousness? Yes. A few. Three, I estimate. Two for sure." (pg. vi).