James Sanford - Great Freethinkers

I love truth. I believe humanity has need of it. But assuredly humanity has much greater need still of untruth which flatters it, consoles it, gives it infinite hopes. - Anatole France (as quoted and more thoroughly referenced on page 13)
Back when I was a Mormon, I would frequently be "called on" to give a "talk" in church. This started from the time I was very little and continued until the time I left Mormonism (more than a decade ago). Frequently these talks (similar to a sermon given by the minister or priest in other churches) would involve a single subject and be peppered with quotes on whatever happened to be the assigned subject (faith, repentance, baptism, etc.). In order to come up with these quotes (especially in pre-internet days) there are dozens of books out there for Mormons which have numerous quotes on Mormon themes organized by subject.

This book basically does the same thing that those books did, only you won't likely find it being used by Mormons for talk preparation. ;)

The original source for each quote is given. The book is fun to read through, even without a story, or you can certainly use it to find a good quote on a particular subject if needed. If you are unfortunate enough to have to speak in your church, and you'd rather be shown the door or not be asked to speak in church again, then this book is a good place to start in preparation for your sermon. It could also work well if you are going to be speaking before a city council or need something to spice up your words at a graduation commencement ceremony.

from the publisher:
This is a book of more than 1,000 irreverent, incisive, ironical, and wise quotations by men and women who were not afraid to make waves in their pursuit of principle. Included are truth-seekers from Heraclitus to Einstein and heretics from Thomas Paine to Edward Abbey. It is the first book to feature the opinions of freethinkers not just on religion and politics, but on a whole range of human issues.

The term "freethinker" broadly designates one who thinks independently and questions accepted norms and traditions. There is no single "creed" of freethought. Almost 200 men and women of varying opinions -- from atheists to unconventional theists, from old-fashioned liberals to anarchists and socialists -- are represented here. Their quotations have been assigned to 45 topics, carefully attributed, and placed chronologically under each topic. Entries have been chosen for their incisiveness, depth, and wit. It is hoped that readers will find this both a useful reference tool and a guide to understanding a noble tradition.

James C. Sanford trained as a historian and taught in academia before entering the antiquarian book trade in the 1980's. As a bookman he has long specialized in the history of science and ideas, taking a particular interest in freethought. He has written articles on historical and book-related topics and contributed to two books.