Jennifer Michael Hecht’s Doubt: A History is especially supple and valuable…’Wildly doubting texts can still be religious treatises,’ she persuasively argues, ‘and the brilliant ones even shed light on belief.’ Her own text certainly does.
— Samuel G. Freedman, The New York Times Book Review


Ron Reagan and Jennifer Hecht discuss why atheism is the biggest "taboo" for politicians-perhaps even more so than homosexuality. The Last Taboo It's harder in America to come out as an atheist politician than a gay one. Why? By JENNIFER MICHAEL HECHT December 09, 2013 Read more:


From the back cover:

“I have enjoyed immensely Jennifer Hecht's romp --light-hearted but serious -- though the history of one profoundly important idea -- doubt. She brings to life an awesome array of figures in philosophy, science, and literature, in a way that is wonderfully engaging.”
— Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

Doubt: A History, is a bold and brilliant work and (lucky us) highly readable, thanks to the elegant and witty author. It's the World Religions course you wish you'd had in college, a history of faith told from the outside. Jennifer Michael Hecht is a strong swimmer in deep water against treacherous currents.”
— Garrison Keillor, host of The Writer's Almanac and A Prairie Home Companion, MPR

“In offering a freewheeling history of freethinking across the centuries, Hecht combines sweeping vision with sparkling prose to produce a book as thoughtful as it is engaging.”
— Leigh Schmidt, Professor of Religion, Princeton University

“A virtuoso cross-cultural history, full of fresh insights into the doubt that informs faith and the countervailing doubt that is a faith in its own right.”
— Richard W. Fox, Professor of History, USC, author of Reinhold Niebuhr: A Biography

“In her cosmic history of intellectual and spiritual thought, the scholar poet Jennifer Hecht cunningly shows how…doubt is the obligatory seed for darkness to yield light.”
— Willis Barnstone, Editor of The Other Bible


“Hecht is right that doubt's story deserves to be told…[and] she tells it in just the right spirit…Hecht is the rare doubter who can simultaneously disagree with people of faith while granting them respect and taking their ideas seriously.” 
— Alan Wolfe, The New Republic

“A marvelous book... Highly informative and potentially transformative, Hecht's meditations on misgivings might cause you never to read your own doubts in quite the same naive way again.” 
— Gordon Marino, The Los Angeles Times

[*starred review] “A magisterial book… Hecht's poetical prose beautifully dramatizes the struggle between belief and denial…The breadth of this work is stunning…Writing with acute sensitivity, Hecht draws the reader toward personal reflection on some of the most timeless questions ever posed.” 
— Publishers Weekly

“A stunning chronicle of unbelievers… Hecht has done us all a service.”
— Tim Callahan, Skeptic Magazine

“Hecht, a historian and poet, aims to give doubt its due in her lively and endlessly provocative new book.” 
— The Christian Century

“Jennifer Michael Hecht has forever changed the way I will think about history - religious or otherwise.” 
— Krista Tippett, Speaking of Faith, Minnesota Public Radio

[*starred review] “In this sprawling, magisterial, and eloquent chronicle, poet and historian Hecht provides an elegant study in the history of an idea… Her brief but splendid study of the great Renaissance skeptic Montaigne is alone worth the price of the book. Hecht's warm prose, lucid insights, and impeccable research combine for a lively, thoughtful, and first-rate study of a neglected idea. Highly recommended.”
— Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Library Journal

[*starred review] “[A] remarkably wide-ranging history… In her provocative conclusion, Hecht ponders the novelty of a global confrontation pitting America not against the state-sanctioned doubt of Soviet atheism but, rather, against a religious fundamentalism hostile to all doubt.” 
— Booklist

“Hecht is especially engaging when she describes the great women skeptics of history, starting with Hypatia, torn to pieces by a Christian mob in 415 A.D. … Belief-mongers will always find new threats, new promises and new lines of patter. Doubt's work is never done.”
— Denis Dutton, The Washington Post

“Rich and moving…Hecht's book…is ultimately the thinking person's self-help guide.”
— Ruth Tobias, The Boston Phoenix

“Doubt is indisputably a gem… vast scope and intimate detail. Hecht's indefatigable mind provides doubt's long narrative with great energy-and her generous heart gives even the bleakest of skeptics a passionate humanity.” 
— Minnesota Star Tribune

“Hecht…brings uncommon intelligence, wit and sensitivity to bear in her discussion of this drama…The experience of reading Doubt: A History is akin to drinking a glass of cool well water: Both clear the head and freshen the spirit.”
— Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Doubt: A History acts as a salve for those of us still burnt by the so-called moral values swing vote of the last presidential election…allowing the non-philosophers among us to glimpse into a past with greater possibilities.”

“If a New Enlightenment will need an Old Testament, this book is a good candidate. At the very least, it is a potent tonic for the humanist/naturalist who may sometimes despair of stubborn faith, not knowing all that he or she is heir to. Richly rewarding.”
— Robert Albrook, Free Inquiry

“Hecht's writing is lively and accessible, as we might expect from someone who has won major awards for her poetry. Her history is compelling. If all philosophy was presented like this, the field might not be so close to extinction.”
— Karl Giberson, Science & Theology News

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Doubt: A History

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