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Freethinkers by Susan Jacoby

Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism
Metropolitan Books, 2004
(432 pages, $27.50, hardcover)

reviewed by Kenneth B. McIntyre

If, as the political philosopher Michael Oakeshott once said, the sin of the academic is always taking too long to make a point, the sin of the journalist is making a point without historical reflection or understanding. In her widely praised book Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, Susan Jacoby, a former journalist at The Washington Post and currently a freelance writer, declares that her intention is “to restore secularism, and its noble and essential contributions at every stage of the American experiment, to its proper place in our nation’s historical memory and vision of the future.”

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Kenneth B. McIntyre is an assistant professor of political science at Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Kentucky, and author of The Limits of Political Theory: Oakeshott's Philosophy of Civil Association. He is currently editing a book on the history of political science. He, his wife Maria, and their two daughters, Flannery and Juliana, are members of the Catholic Church.

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