Susan Jacoby is an independent scholar specializing in the history of atheism, secularism, and religious liberty. Her forthcoming Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion, to be published by Pantheon in March, is her eleventh book. Her 2000 memoir Half-Jew: A Daughter’s Search for her Family’s Buried Past, will be issued simultaneously as an e-book by Vintage Books.
Jacoby’s best-known books include Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism (Metropolitan Books, 2004), hailed in The New York Times as an “ardent and insightful work” that “seeks to rescue a proud tradition from the indifference of posterity” and The Age of American Unreason (Pantheon, 2008), a New York Times bestseller praised by Richard Dawkins as a “luminously clear” work in which the author “reaches out to welcome all who would share in her elevated vision of the way our culture could be—and is not.” She is also the author of The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought (Yale University Press, 2013).
Jacoby began her writing career as a reporter for The Washington Post. Her first book, Moscow Conversations (1972) was based on the articles she contributed to the Post from Moscow between 1969 and 1971. Other works include Wild Justice: The Evolution of Revenge, a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1984, and The Possible She (1979).
Jacoby’s reviews, articles and essays have appeared in a wide variety of national publications, including The New York Times, The American Prospect, Dissent, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book Review, the AARP Magazine, and The Daily Beast. (Click here for select links.) She has been the recipient of many grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim, Rockefeller and Ford Foundations. In 2001 she was named a fellow of the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.
Susan Jacoby is a member of the honorary boards of the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Center for Inquiry, a secular think tank.
She lives in New York City.