The Four Horsemen

I got The Four Horsemen as an audiobook. I wanted to listen to an audiobook when I was doing something boring at work (I rarely have to, hence rarely listening to audiobooks) and I was happy to discover that this one was available at the library. It is a short, under 3h book, so it’s well worth getting it.

In 2007, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett filmed a conversation on religion, ethics, and the new atheism. This is a rendition of their conversation, which is a must as an audiobook, if you want to hear their voices. Hitchens sadly died, so the book features essays by Dawkins, Harris, and Dennett, and, very excitingly, an introduction by Stephen Fry.

The Four Horsemen

As Stephen Fry said, “You don’t have to boast a PhD or have read Thomas à Kempis, the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon and the teachings of Siddhartha (or indeed On the Origin of Species and Principia Mathematica) to be able to take part in such wrangling and disputation. But boy, isn’t it wonderful when you can eavesdrop on four who have.”

If you are not familiar with their work and ideas, it is worth getting this, as it offers a tantalising view into their views. I’ve read Hitchens and Dawkins (both on religion and genetics, he is a great writer), I’ve listened to Sam Harris’ podcast many times, but I’m yet to read a book by Dennet. Now that I think about, I haven’t read a book by Harris either, so I should do that. Only the lack of time kept me from reading all these books, as my to-read list on goodreads is only one book shy of 200, while I have books on to-read lists on three libraries, and I have some at home too.

I can’t say much more about the book, it is a conversation and it flows as each of them says something. I found myself nodding in agreement or thinking that I can’t disagree more with that point. So, considering this, the book is 100% worth reading.

4 thoughts on “The Four Horsemen”

  • Oddly, despite being a lifelong atheist, Dawkins always annoys me so much he makes me feel like becoming a believer just to spite him! 😉 The only other one of these I’m at all familiar with is Hitchens, who happily didn’t have the same effect on me. This does sound like an interesting listen, though I expect most people who listen to it will already be in agreement with them…

    • Really? I like Dawkins’ writing a lot, including his books on genes, like the Selfish Gene. I don’t agree with all he says, but I like this style. Hitchens’ book on Mother Theresa was incredible (The missionary position), I loved it.
      Surprisingly, by looking at the reviews, not only atheists are reading/listening to their books/talks. I imagine their books are very important with the ones struggling with understanding faith, as they were told something from childhood, which is hard to fight against.

  • So were these really ‘The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse’? I wouldn’t mind listening to this debate at some point, probably when I am alone, so that hubbie can’t keep interjecting with his own comments, even though our reviews are pretty much the same. As we are both confirmed atheists, I don’t really want to say any more than that about this book really, but I hope that you really got something out of reading it! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • It is quite a fascinating talk, I think you would enjoy it, because their views are so different on different topics, despite having the same views overall. I’m an atheist too, been one for over 2 decades. 🙂

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