And what a sweet review it is. There are points on which I disagree with Hitchens (as there are with Dawkins, too, of course), but I agree that the book is an excellent contribution to the ongoing evolution of secular thought.
I wonder if one of the factors that is making everyone consider this movement the “New Atheism” is a confusion of cause and effect. The cause, the advancement of outspoken atheism, is the same old idea; the effect is different, because we don’t have just one Ingersoll who could be marginalized and humored because he was mostly alone, we have a growing core of literate and uncompromising atheists who can reinforce each others’ message, leading to greater and greater gains. Hitchens and Dawkins, despite differences in politics and perspectives, can find common cause in one thing, at least, and will gladly work together to promote it. And everywhere new groups supporting secularism are springing up and encouraging discussion and criticism of religion.
If I were a follower of one of the Abrahamic religions, I’d be worried. The opposition is growing bolder, and their religious belief relies on acceptance of authority — and that is being challenged and weakened.