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400 Years Of Freethought
Samuel Porter Putnam
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
Jon Meacham
Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version
Philip Pullman, Jacob Grimm
Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson
Jennifer Michael Hecht
The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th-Century America
Paul E. Johnson, Sean Wilentz

D.M. Bennett, The Truth Seeker

D.M. Bennett, The Truth Seeker - Roderick Bradford D.M. Bennett was an interesting character, surrounded by other interesting characters. I got the sense, reading Bradford's account of Bennett's life, that Bennett was often NOT the most interesting person in the particular scene. But that in spite of that, he was important and perhaps in some ways made it possible for others to be brighter than they would have been without him. Comstock's persecution of Bennett certainly seemed like a personal vendetta, but I don't know enough about Comstock yet to know if his approach to Bennett was actually unusual for him. I also didn't get enough of a sense, I think, of specifically what Bennett's contribution to freethought was. He often seems to be overshadowed by Ingersoll and others -- I was curious about Bennett's own ideas, in spite of the author using many quotes. I had no idea that Bennett had written as much as he apparently did about Bradlaugh. The fact that he met Bradlaugh, Besant, Hypatia Bradlaugh, Aveling and Eleanor Marx, and wrote about it, is going to be very valuable to me. Perhaps Bennett is less popular than some other freethinkers because he flirted so openly with mysticism and Theosophy. Nowadays it seems hard to accept the idea that freethinkers were open to "natural" phenomena we now consider to be supernatural superstitions. The relationship between freethinkers and spiritualists in the 19th century that Bradford hints at here is something that deserves much more attention. It has received a lot from the spiritualist side, I think -- now it needs some attention from the materialist angle.