The Age of Atheists: How We Have Sought to Live Since the Death of God, by Peter Watson (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014, ISBN 978-1-4767-5431-4) 587 pp. Hardcover, $35.00.
Peter Watson is a difficult man to categorize. He’s had a long and successful career at the higher reaches of English journalism. He’s a polymath whose first books were explorations of aspects of the art world: the spiraling art market, the trade in stolen artworks, and intellectual histories of particular paintings. After that came even more ambitious surveys of the intellectual climate of European thought and then, in 2005, the still more wide-ranging work, Ideas: A History of Thought and Invention from Fire to Freud. Since then, Watson has written a long study of the German contribution to the development of art, thought, and culture and an account of the great migrations from Asia to the Americas across what is now the Bering Strait and their subsequent impact. Whatever their subject, all Watson’s books are supported by prodigious reading. And Watson likes to write long books.