I know what you want. You want a heavily footnoted, yet deliciously readable academic tract on the plight of American atheists in the contemporary political environment. But you don’t want it to be too long — 50 pages or so will be fine, thank you — and you don’t want it to be so tied to bleeding-edge current events that it has no lasting relevance. Oh, and you’re only interested in reading this tract in an electronic format.
What a coincidence!
In 2008, I wrote a master’s thesis on the above subject, and I recently decided to clean it up, get it all good and formatted, and publish it as an ebook…and a dirt-cheap ebook at that, at 99 cents. So today I published on Amazon’s Kindle Store my once-thesis-now-book, Under the Stained Glass Ceiling: Atheists’ Precarious Place in Modern American Politics. Here’s my description from the Amazon page:
Being atheistic defines what a person does not believe, but it may not sufficiently describe what one does. This is one of the central sticking points for atheists who hope to make their voices heard in American politics: deciding what those voices should be saying, and then, how best to say it.
For some nonbelieving Americans, the goal is simply to be left alone, free to refrain from worshiping any gods, and have religious Americans keep their supernaturalistic beliefs out of government. For others, there is a feeling that nonbelievers have been champing at the political bit for too long.
This book will explore atheists’ precarious place in American politics, both in terms of their potential for impact and the harsh realities of their station in American society. We will examine the oft-conflicting goals of the nonbelief movement and take a critical look at the dominant strategies for achieving those goals. And in the light of their failures and successes, their public image and their political potency, we will evaluate the prospects for atheism in electoral contests and for mainstream social acceptance. Feeling a renewed sense of purpose, and sensing a rare opportunity, atheist Americans are preparing to mark their territory in the political arena. As has always been the case, however, there is little consensus as to what victory looks like.
The preface covers most of the necessary context (how the content was written in 2008, but now in 2012 there’s little changed in the most important areas), but the long and the short is that I am releasing this somewhat on a whim, mainly to get the material out into the hands of those who might find it of interest. I really do think it’s quite accessible and a genuinely enjoyable read, and it seemed absurd that after so much work put into it that it should simply gather electron-dust on my hard drive. I hope to get it to the iBookstore as well, but that has proven more difficult than I expected, despite the release of iBooks Author.
So, if you have a buck to spare, perhaps you’ll give it a download and check it out. If you like it, I hope you’ll bestow some Amazon love on it in the form of a positive review. Most importantly, if you don’t like it, well, pretend you do and don’t tell me.