Interesting But Long-Winded Read About the Unreligious in America
By David Niose
Palgrave Macmillan, $27.00, 254 pages
The percentage of Americans that identify with no faith – the unreligious – is on the rise. Despite the claims of some, the United States is not a “Christian nation”. It is a diverse nation, full of members of many religions, and many without, such as atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, humanists, and secularists. However they are to be identified, there is, as David Niose shows in Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans, a shared unity that brings these various unreligious groups in American society together to stand up for their voice to be heard. Niose shares many ways in which the viewpoints of secular Americans are pushed off to the side in public discourse, or how religious organizations gain unfair advantage with regard to laws and political persuasion.
Readers will find the book useful for how it brings together events and information from the last several decades. Nonbeliever Nation is meticulously documented – unfortunately, the narrative is not very engaging, and the book is akin to a lengthy and repetitive Wikipedia article. While such a book is surely needed, at times the author engages in snarky and unnecessary bickering about religious groups that seems out of place for an otherwise interesting, if long-winded, read.
Reviewed by Michael Barton