Extended Audio Sample

Download Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson Audiobook, by Jennifer Michael Hecht Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (899 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jennifer Michael Hecht Narrator: Martha Harmon Pardee Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2017 ISBN: 9781538464496
Regular Price: $34.95 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $16.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

In this sweeping history, Jennifer Michael Hecht celebrates doubt as an engine of creativity and as an alternative to the political and intellectual dangers of certainty. Just as belief has its own history featuring people whose unique expressions of faith forever changed the world, doubt has a vibrant story and tradition with its own saints, martyrs, and sages.

Hecht shows that the great doubters ponder the same issues as the great believers. She celebrates such heroes of doubt as Confucius, Socrates, Jesus, Wang Ch’ung, Hypatia, Maimonides, Galileo, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Emily Dickinson, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Margaret Sanger, people who drove history forward by challenging the powers and conventional wisdom of their time and heritage.

Download and start listening now!

5350

Quotes & Awards

  • “A bold and brilliant work and (lucky us) highly readable, thanks to the elegant and witty author.”

    Garrison Keillor

  • “Hecht, a historian and poet, aims to give doubt its due in her lively and endlessly provocative new book…a continuous and intricate narrative of doubt.”

    Christian Century

  • “Jennifer Hecht’s romp—light hearted but serious—brings to life an awesome array of figures in philosophy, science, and literature, in a way that is wonderfully engaging.”

    Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States

  • “Hecht gleefully invites readers on a lively stroll through three millennia of clashes between believers and nonbelievers.”

    Detroit Free Press

  • “Hecht is right that doubt’s story deserves to be told…[and] she tells it in just the right spirit…Hecht is a rare doubter who can simultaneously disagree with people of faith while granting them respect and taking their ideas seriously.”

    Alan Wolfe, New Republic

  • “Hecht’s poetical prose beautifully dramatizes the struggle between belief and denial…Writing with acute sensitivity, Hecht draws the reader toward personal reflection on some of the most timeless questions ever posed.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “[A] sprawling, magisterial, and eloquent chronicle…Hecht’s warm prose, lucid insights, and impeccable research combine for a lively, thoughtful, and first-rate study of a neglected idea. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • “A remarkably wide ranging history.”

    Booklist (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shakeel | 2/9/2014

    " A joy to read. I'm glad she covered the few characters that merge from Muslim civilisation. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tyler | 1/17/2014

    " I really like the idea of this book, and what I've read of it has been well-written and interesting. However, after having it sulk on my bedside table for three or four years, I've finally realized I'm never going to finish it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Omerakhayyam | 1/16/2014

    " read one chapter...decently written "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ron Christiansen | 1/10/2014

    " Changed my world view forever. And I got to hear and meet the author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Greg | 1/7/2014

    " Not a beach book. It was so difficult trying to read this surrounded by sunshine, sand and ocean. This isn't too say that it's not as easy to read as it could be; the tone is very conversational and light. If you're looking for a first look at the history of people who have chosen to stand outside their cultural-religious traditions, this is the one to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 12/20/2013

    " Jennifer Hecht provides a pretty thorough history of doubt. Who are the doubters, the questioners, the ones who were curious, the ones who rebelled and stood out from the crowd? We get it all in her delightful and informative narrative. I can't praise this book enough! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig | 11/21/2013

    " still working on it...long book, good "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin | 11/20/2013

    " A delightful romp through 2600 years of freethought/skepticism. Well-written and pleasant to read. I recommend this book to those who ave doubts and, ESPECIALLY, to those who don't. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 BLACK CAT | 10/12/2013

    " History of the philosophy of religions. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan | 9/25/2013

    " If you are only ever going to read one philosophy book - this should be it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cathy | 8/9/2013

    " Actually, I couldn't get through it. I didn't know it was only about religious/philosophical doubt. Too deep for me, I guess. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom | 11/8/2012

    " This is an excellent foray through the history of atheism and agnosticism. If memory serves me correct, Hecht originally wanted to title it "A History of Atheism," but the publishers pressured her to change it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 10/13/2012

    " Nice! 4 stars because I enjoyed it and found it informative, but the people who really need to read this book probably never would. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charles | 8/3/2012

    " This book basically chronicles the history of world religions through the eyes of people who doubted them. It was very interesting to see just how old the basic arguments against belief are and how they were carried on and added to through successive periods. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 5/25/2012

    " Page-turning (most of the time) precis of the great doubters and Schools of Doubt through the past 2,600 years. Ms. Hecht shows that every tradition of belief is preceded by the tradition of doubt. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 3/14/2012

    " An excellent, readable, throughly researched and noted history of religious doubt. Great general reference book for those interested in countering the bile that spews from the mouths and keyboards of the religious wrong. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamey | 11/10/2011

    " A real gem. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Pederson | 9/30/2011

    " My first skeptical book! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Pam Traphagen | 6/16/2011

    " I tried to read it because it's such a great topic, but I gave up on it. The author writes like Mariah Carey sings. Obviously talented, but all caught up in her own talent with no respect for the song. Pity. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rosalía | 4/30/2011

    " A tour through history with philosophers, mathematicians, and thinkers and their rejection of dogma. A must read for Americans unnerved by society's grip on progress in America. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tyler | 4/2/2011

    " I really like the idea of this book, and what I've read of it has been well-written and interesting. However, after having it sulk on my bedside table for three or four years, I've finally realized I'm never going to finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ron | 2/25/2011

    " Changed my world view forever. And I got to hear and meet the author. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Collin | 1/25/2011

    " One of the most lyrical and respectful books on relgious doubt out there. And, thankfully, covers more than just western religions. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hans | 12/19/2010

    " I never before thought of the path of history as circling the Mediterranean Sea. A good read and very instructive. I learned a lot! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tbooker | 12/16/2010

    " This is an enlightening read.
    It should serve as a reference book, after having been absorbed in first reading.
    Great source information for the origins of philosophical arguments. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathen | 12/4/2010

    " Wonderful history of thinkers willing to question authority. Highly recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sfarisbradistan | 7/17/2010

    " A joy to read. I'm glad she covered the few characters that merge from Muslim civilisation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 6/2/2010

    " Nice! 4 stars because I enjoyed it and found it informative, but the people who really need to read this book probably never would. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ken | 3/11/2010

    " Interesting book. It's not all that fun of a read, but it's a font of information on religious doubt throughout the last few thousand years.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 2/11/2010

    " Page-turning (most of the time) precis of the great doubters and Schools of Doubt through the past 2,600 years. Ms. Hecht shows that every tradition of belief is preceded by the tradition of doubt. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charles | 1/7/2010

    " This book basically chronicles the history of world religions through the eyes of people who doubted them. It was very interesting to see just how old the basic arguments against belief are and how they were carried on and added to through successive periods. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Jennifer Michael Hecht

Jennifer Michael Hecht, an accomplished historian and an award-winning poet, earned a PhD in the history of science from Columbia University. She is the author of The End of the SoulScientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology in France and coauthor of the major textbook Western Civilizations: The Continuing Experiment. She lives in New York City and is an assistant professor of history at Nassau Community College.

About the Narrator

Martha Harmon Pardee, award-winning narrator, has been recording books for the Library of Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped for fifteen years, with over 850 titles to date. She graduated from Northwestern University and for the past twenty years has lived in Denver, where she works as an actress and voice-over artist. She and her husband, actor-narrator Erik Sandvold, have two children.