The Great Agnostic

The Great Agnostic

Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
1
Rate this:
This book is a biography that restores America's foremost nineteenth-century champion of reason and secularism to our still contested twenty-first-century public square. From the author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism comes a provocative portrait of Robert Green Ingersoll, known as "the Great Agnostic" and the foremost spokesman during America's Gilded Age for secularism and the separation of church and state. When he died in 1899, it was widely acknowledged that he might have aspired to the U.S. presidency had it not been for his antireligious views. Instead, he became the most passionate advocate for Enlightenment reason since the nation's founding. To the question that retains its divisive power -- was the United States founded as a Christian nation? -- Ingersoll answered an emphatic no. This erudite and entertaining account restores Ingersoll to his rightful place in an American intellectual tradition extending from Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine to the current generation of "new atheists." Jacoby illuminates the ways in which America's often-denigrated and forgotten secular history encompasses issues, including women's rights, immigration, racism, and evolution, that are as potent and divisive today as they were in Ingersoll's time. Ingersoll emerges in this portrait as one of the indispensable public figures who keeps an alternative version of history alive. He devoted his life to that greatest secular idea of all -- liberty of conscience belonging to the religious and nonreligious alike. - Jacket flap.
"In this provocative biography, Susan Jacoby, the author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, restores Ingersoll to his rightful place in an American intellectual tradition extending from Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine to the current generation of "new atheists." Jacoby illuminates the ways in which America's often-denigrated and forgotten secular history encompasses issues, ranging from women's rights to evolution, as potent and divisive today as they were in Ingersoll's time. Ingersoll emerges in this portrait as one of the indispensable public figures who keep an alternative version of history alive. He devoted his life to that greatest secular idea of all--liberty of conscience belonging to the religious and nonreligious alike."--Publisher's website.
During the Gilded Age, Ingersoll raised his voice on behalf of Enlightenment reason, secularism, and the separation of church and state with a vigor unmatched since America's revolutionary generation. Jacoby restores Ingersoll to his rightful place in an American intellectual tradition, as a public figure who devoted his life to liberty of conscience belonging to the religious and nonreligious alike.
Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, ©2013
ISBN: 9780300205787
0300205783
9780300137255
0300137257
Branch Call Number: B INGERSOL
Characteristics: ix, 246 pages ; 22 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

w
wh0Me
Jun 20, 2013

Robert Ingersoll deserves wider recognition. This is an easy read and an invitation to dive into Ingersolls' own writings.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at PPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top