Ep 61: Books for Secularists

Posted: Tue, 16th Nov 2021

Bob Forder, Maddy Goodall

Looking to explore the currents of thought behind secularism? Here are nine books to begin with.

In this episode, Emma Park and two guests discuss books that help contextualise Britain's secularist intellectual tradition, tracing a route through classical, Enlightenment, freethought, and humanist history. Each speaker proposes three books which, in their view, embody these interconnected currents of thought in one way or another, and which celebrate free speech and open enquiry.

Bob Forder is the National Secular Society's historian, and the great-great-grandson of Robert Forder, its first paid secretary.

Maddy Goodall is Humanist Heritage Coordinator at Humanists UK and in charge of the Humanist Heritage Project.

Got a suggestion for more 'books for secularists'? Email us at podcast@secularism.org.uk or tweet to @NatSecSoc with #BooksforSecularists.

Nine books for secularists, in order of publication:

Lucretius, On the Nature of the Universe (mid-first century BC). Prose translation e.g. by R. Latham.

Thomas Paine, Age of Reason (1794-5)

The Trial of the Rev. Robert Wedderburn for Blasphemy (1820)

– Edward Fitzgerald, Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (first edition 1859)

Charles Bradlaugh, Speeches (1890)

Florence Dixie, Towards Freedom (1904)

Dora Russell, The Tamarisk Tree (1975)

Caroline Fourest, In Praise of Blasphemy / Éloge du blasphème (2015)

Barbara Smoker, My Godforsaken Life (2018)

Watch this episode on YouTube | Direct MP3 Link | Transcripts

Support the podcast, share with a friend, and leave a positive review everywhere you can.

Podcast produced by Emma Park for the National Secular Society (2021). All rights reserved.

Looking to explore the currents of thought behind secularism? Here are nine books proposed by @DrEmmaPark, @BobosOldBooks and @maddyogoodall for a secularist reading list.
Click to tweet

We publish our podcast to enable exploration of subjects of interest to NSS members and supporters. Guests' views may not always align with those of the NSS.

Tags: Free speech, RE

Subscribe to NSS Podcasts: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify | RSS | YouTube | Blubrry | TuneIn.

If you value the podcast please share it with a friend and leave us a positive review wherever you get it. You can also support future podcasts and our campaigns by joining the NSS or making a donation.