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The Age of Atheists: How We Have Sought to Live Since the Death of God Hardcover – February 18, 2014

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*Starred Review* As humanity (limited here to Western humanity) was losing the sense of certainty that came
with a belief in God, with Nietzsche famously pronouncing His death, what was to fill that spiritual void? This is the
enormous question tackled by English intellectual historian Watson. How have thinkers, artists, and others in a secular
age sought to anchor humanity in relation to the universe? Watson’s breathtakingly vast coverage ranges chronologically
from the immediate post-Nietzschean generation to the present, and culturally across an immense canvas, an encyclopedic
who’s who in twentieth-century arts and sciences (and more) somehow confronting a spiritual vacuum in a period marked by
two world wars, the Holocaust, a multitude of other horrors, and the atomic age. American poet Wallace Stevens thought
that “in an age when God is dead, the arts in general, and poetry in particular, must take over.” What was created were
not only lasting works of art but also, in aggregate, an antitheology theology. Watson’s theme seems to be that an
astonishingly broad spectrum of manifestations of the human spirit, in a human community, ground us in a less-certain
world. His style, like many of those he discusses, can be recondite, but Watson’s encompassing treatment of a difficult
subject, in a world growing no less uncertain, is impressive and, ultimately, reassuring. --Mark Levine

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"Peter Watson’s hindsight, foresight and insight into the role atheists play in creating our cultures makes
The Age of Atheists a must read. Readers will gain a deeper appreciation of the rich world in which we live." Author:
Charles de Groot, co-chair of The de Groot Foundation

"Peter Watson's book has made the extraordinary leap of assessing each of the 20th century's important secular
philosophic traditions. Along the way, as an ultimate reference, he has also given us the intuitive methods and insights
of that century's leading poets, painters, musicians and choreographers. Perhaps no one else at this moment has the
background for such an adventure. Whether as a guide to the last century's thinkers or as a reference to the insights of
its artists, The Age of Atheists is an indispensable map to locate our present." Author: William Kistler, poet and

"Watson’s encompassing treatment of a difficult subject, in a world growing no less uncertain, is impressive and,
ultimately, reassuring." Author: Booklist (starred)

“The beauty of this book is Watson's ability to impose order on a riot of ideas…even the casual reader will find much to
delight and enlighten as Watson elegantly connects the dots from Nietzsche and William James to Bob Dylan and jazz.”
Source: Publishers Weekly

"H]ighly readable and immensely wide-ranging….Peter Watson has produced what is, in every way, a big book, one that
bears reading thoughtfully, with a pencil in hand. For anybody who has wondered about the meaning of life, and that
pretty much covers everyone past the age of 12, discovering “The Age of Atheists” will be an enthralling and
mind­expanding experience." Author: Michael Dirda Source: The Washington Post

"A vividly engaging conspectus of the formative ideas of the past century, The Age of Atheists shows how Nietzche's
diagnosis evoked responses in many areas of cultural life, including some surprising parts of the political spectrum."
Source: The New Statesman

"[A]n exhilarating ride through the cerebra of disparate men…who have tried to fashion a Godless yet nonetheless ordered
and sustaining worldview. It is a topical book, to be sure, but also one that will stand the test of time as a masterful
account of its subject." Source: The Boston Globe

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