Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Damned Good Company: Twenty Rebels Who…

Damned Good Company: Twenty Rebels Who Bucked the God Experts

by Luis Granados

Other authors: Paul Granados (Videographer), Amanda Knief (Editor), Roy Speckhardt (Editor), Lisa Zangerl (Cover designer)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
195537,190 (3.94)None



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

Showing 5 of 5
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received Damned Good Company as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers and have a long history of reading about philosophy, religion, atheism, agnosticism, and the histories thereof. Luis Grandos has written a set of twenty descriptions of people who bucked the traditional views on god.

Each chapter is a treatment of a 'rebel' and a traditionalist (or a general group or event which challenged the rebel's view), giving opposing viewpoints as a snapshot of thoughts and actions on god and religion at the time. From ancient Socrates vs Euthyphro to the modern treatment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali vs Barack Obama, Grandos offers well-explained positions for each side and suggests how difficult it can be to run counter to the prevailing religious policy-makers and thinkers.

The chapters on Spinoza vs Zevi and Paine vs Tallyrand were my favorites. These were very well developed summaries of each period of time and how each featured persona offered a means of viewing the struggle between secular thinking and theological dominance.
  IslandDave | Feb 14, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is an enjoyable collection of historical stories that really hits home when considered in conjunction with some of the fundamentalist craziness in today's public discourse. It is said that history repeats itself, and this book underscores that idea. Good stuff. ( )
  gtvalentine | Dec 9, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was not prepared to enjoy this book as much as I did, assuming it would echo the stereotypical arguments in the science vs. religion debates. Instead I found myself immersed in little known but fascinating historical events that illustrate not only some extremely silly and sometimes downright dangerous religious beliefs but also the corrupting influence of political power in organized religions.

Author Luis Granados makes no claims for or against the existence of God but he is very definitely opposed to those he deems ‘God experts' — those who attempt to gain earthly power and assert their influence over others through claims of divine authority. The book is thus arranged in chapters that juxtapose forty historical figures: the prevailing religious authorities of their time and their freethinking counterparts. Granados manages to seamlessly weave together facts about religious orthodoxy across a range of cultures and times, resulting in a book that is not only informative but supremely entertaining.

We know, for example, that from medieval times the Christian church taught that all knowledge was to be found in scripture, and not in scientific research, declaring medicine to be heresy. But who knew that the church deliberately let smallpox — a deadly plague that wiped out millions — spread because inoculations against it, though known, were thought to undermine the doctrine of predestination, not to mention undermine church revenues through a decline in the purchase of healing prayers and relics? Even as late as 1885, Catholic populations in major cities were decimated because the clergy insisted that vaccination was sinful, smallpox being God’s punishment for mortal pride. Attention to general hygiene was also suspect, the rationale being that humanity is worthless in comparison to the greatness of God so the best way to express one’s humility is in enduring (or actively fostering, as some saints were known to do) a life of personal degradation and filth. This tenet was strictly enforced for a time by the Portuguese Inquisition, who ranked bathing the whole body a crime equivalent to witchcraft!

Another enlightening chapter deals with the conflict between Mohandas Ghandi and Jawaherlal Nehru. Although Ghandi is well-known for his position on nonviolent resistance, his extreme, at times bizarre, religious beliefs, which outweighed his political ones, cast him in a less than flattering light. In fact, Granados sets out to show that by deliberately framing the Indian independence movement in religious terms (and by desiring fame as a spiritual leader more than liberating the masses from British rule) Ghandi's actions (particularly his fierce advocacy in favour of the caste system) led to decades of political setbacks for the nation.

Charlatans, document forgeries, Jesuit-inspired civil wars, the suppression of scientific knowledge, religious greed, corruption and brutality, the Dreyfus affair, divinely-inspired racial and ethnic bigotry, slavery, evolution, apartheid, Middle East politics, the subjugation of women . . . all are referenced in novel ways.

By largely focusing on the internecine power plays between religious characters — each vying to curry favour with their respective political leaders — Granados shows that the trajectory of history was never as clear-cut as it appears. Proponents of a more humanist, tolerant and egalitarian society were always challenging the prevailing wisdom and sometimes a hair’s breath away from assuming the upper hand.

In short, Damned Good Company is a damned good read! ( )
2 vote EAG | Nov 28, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is not a book about God, or whether he exists or not. It is about people who use God, or claim to have a special understanding of God's will, and how they might use that knowledge. It is well-written using clear, down-to-earth language describing historical events and religions making it easy to read and understand, unlike other writers who often become bogged down in complexity.

Each chapter is written from opposing points of view as stories from "heroes" and "villains". Granados has great respect for those he writes about even though he may speak of their dark sides. The common theme in all stories is the fear of retribution, the basis of religions, which plays on the believer's vulnerability. The format is effective and helps the crux of the matter to stay in the memory.

At the end of each chapter there is a bibliography and one or two questions with a web address for comments or more information. Although there is some interconnection, chapters can be read randomly, not necessarily in sequence.

This is a courageous retelling of religious cant, and Granados is not afraid to tell it, backed by fact. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Oct 3, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really enjoyed this book. I found it really well written. Its essentially a book about Humanists that took on "experts" of religion throughout the ages. It is not a book about atheists... almost all of the people were part of a religion but they were against some part of it that didn't make sense to them. I particularly enjoyed the stories about China Humanists. It was well researched and easy to read. I found out a lot of new information and read about people I had not heard of before. The essence of a good non-fiction book is if you come out of reading it saying "I really learnt something from this book". And I did. ( )
  Janine2011 | Sep 24, 2012 |
Showing 5 of 5
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Granados, Luisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Granados, PaulVideographersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Knief, AmandaEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Speckhardt, RoyEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zangerl, LisaCover designersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For my wife, Pat, and son, Paul, who have shown infinite patience. And for our dog, Rosie, who has not.
First words
I have no problem with God.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

No library descriptions found.

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum

Luis Granados's book Damned Good Company: Twenty Rebels Who Bucked The God Experts was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Sign up to get a pre-publication copy in exchange for a review.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
3 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.94)
3 2
3.5 2
4 1
4.5 1
5 2

Humanist Press

2 editions of this book were published by Humanist Press.

Editions: 0931779243, 0931779251

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,383,810 books! | Top bar: Always visible