Book Club: America's Most Hated Woman

We'll be discussing America's Most Hated Woman: The Life and Gruesome Death of Madalyn Murray O'Hair by Ann Rowe Seaman (nonfiction - history/biography):

Why did Life Magazine dub her the most hated woman in America? Did she unravel the moral fiber of America or defend the Constitution? They found her heaped in a shallow grave, sawed up, and burned. Thus ended Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the articulate "atheist bitch" whose 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case ended school prayer. Her Christian-baiting lawsuits spanned three more decades; she was on TV all over the country, foul-mouthed, witty, and passionate, launching today's culture wars over same-sex marriage and faith-based initiatives.

Available on Amazon or through Sac Library.

Come with a few thoughts/ideas about the book to discuss!

About the Venue
The Coffee Garden is a little coffee shop just off Broadway and 99. If the weather's nice, we're probably in the big table in the garden through the back door. Otherwise we're in the separate room off to the left when you come in the front door.

They serve all sorts of coffees and drinks, sodas, and a wide variety of sandwiches and salads perfect for dinner if you choose. They appreciate it if you at least buy a drink/pastry.

Please be courteous and do not bring outside food or drinks.

About the Book Club
We're glad to have you join us - if you hate the book, love the book, or even didn't finish the book.

Join or login to comment.

  • Robert C.

    The consensus of the group is that Madelyn earned her title and was a discredit to the atheist movement. The upside was this is a great and interesting group that i'm becoming quite fond of. Thanks Brooke for your dedication and efforts in keeping this club alive.

    1 · June 18, 2013

    • Rachael

      If you watch some of her appearances on youtube, yes she is irreverent and sometimes even rude, but she's not as blatantly bitchy at the book made her out to be.

      June 22, 2013

    • Roberto L.

      Maybe we should add a book of hers to next year's list

      June 22, 2013

  • Brooke

    Sitting at our table with a group of Christian roommates! Woo hoo for getting here early.

    1 · June 17, 2013

  • Susan C.

    I just ordered the book for $6.oo. will start reading when it arrives.

    1 · June 17, 2013

  • Roberto L.

    Not that she deserved what happened to her, but there's the saying "he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword". She was in many ways a criminal (if the author is factual), it's not surprising that she ended up killed by one. I'm really sorry for her kids, particularly Robin, as they were part of a cult from which they could not escape.
    Her life and the way she lived it should be a lesson to all parents, if you want your kids to follow your values you need to live them as well, and pushing them too far will just either drive them away (as with Bill) or make them drones attached to you with no individual thoughts or personality (Jon and Robin).
    Very sad book :(
    I'm really curious as to what you guys think of the book, if anybody had experiences with American Atheists, and I'm sorry I'm missing this month! Though I didn't like it that doesn't mean I don't think the book was worth reading.

    2 · June 17, 2013

    • Brooke

      Thanks Roberto! I agree on a lot of this - but thought all the info about the lawsuits and public reception to her were very interesting. Parts reminded me of that South Park episode where the atheists fight over their organization names. http://www.southparks...­

      2 · June 17, 2013

  • Roberto L.

    I read a quote from her son Bill that sums my thoughts about her up:
    "“My mother was an evil person ... Not for removing prayer from America's schools ... No ... She was just evil. She stole huge amounts of money. She misused the trust of people. She cheated children out of their parents' inheritance. She cheated on her taxes and even stole from her own organizations. She once printed up phony stock certificates on her own printing press to try to take over another atheist publishing company. I could go on but I won't."

    June 17, 2013

  • Roberto L.

    So I did finish the book. and since I can't make it I figure you deserve my wisdom anyway.
    I didn't like it, the writing was pretty bad. Aside from that, I absolutely hated Madelyn, a horrible person who gives atheists a bad name. The book is a biography for 70% which just drones on and on about the same sort of thing (she makes an ally whom she later repudiates), the pattern gets really boring. The rest of the book is completely different, 30% "true crime" which I don't particularly care for as a style either, though the details of the crime itself are pretty bizarre.

    1 · June 17, 2013

  • Roberto L.

    Have to cancel today, too much going on in my life this week, sorry :(

    June 17, 2013

  • Susan C.

    I just ordered the book for $6.oo. will start reading when it arrives.

    1 · June 6, 2013

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