The Rational Alternative, June, 2004
Timmons' Novel: A riveting Search for Religious Knowledge
Regarding an Angel's Flight by W. Milton Timmons. Publisher: 1st Books. ISBN-
Reviewed by: Margie Farber
The author, Milt Timmons gave me this book in the hope that I would review it for our organization’s
newsletter, “Rational Alternative”. The book is a fictional novel, as well as an historical, philosophical
story with a mystery twist. The historical and philosophical content of the book is well researched.
Milt takes us on the journey of Austin Adams, the primary character, taking us from his birth to the late
1960’s, (even though the book itself goes beyond that point to 1984). You will feel the experiences of
this young man, as though they were your own, especially his search for knowledge on religion. It is just
as if you are taking a course on Comparative Religions in college.
Every step that Austin makes throughout his life coincides with the historical background of that period.
There are many characters that appear at different periods in the young man’s journey. Most have an
influence on his life, both positive and negative. These characters have their own colorful personalities
which give the book a richer value to the experiences of the main character. The personalities of each
individual character are so unique, it feels like they pop right out of the book and come to life right
before your eyes; you have that feeling that you know them personally.
My husband took a writing class at the senior center, in which they stress the importance of dialogue.
Milt presents the dialogue in this book so well that you feel that you are involved in the conversation.
The dialects spoken by each individual creates another dimension, making the characters more
There is so much I would like to say about this book, but I am afraid to divulge too much, as it might
prevent you from acquiring this book and rob you of the experience of discovering for yourselves what a
jewel this book really is.
My husband, Henry, who is generally a slow reader and who normally does not read fiction, is having the
time of his life reading this book. I myself read the book in just over a week. There were times that I
found it very difficult to put down. In order to get other things done, for instance, AU business or work
around the house, I had to force myself to put the book down temporarily. Once I started reading, it was
like an addiction in which the only cure was finishing the book.
To me, this is truly an atheistic novel for all atheists to enjoy. It will stimulate you. I recommend it highly
and hope you acquire a copy for your personal library. Read it and enjoy!
Mensa Bulletin, July, 2004
Reviewed by Tom Elliot
Regarding an Angel's Flight: The Vast Saga of One Man's Search for the Truth and of Those Who
Tried to Stop Him by W. Milton Timmons (704 pp., cloth; 1st Books Library/Authorhouse, Bloomington,
Ind., ISBN 1-4140-3465-2 Also available in paperback and eBook versions).
We all know how much America has changed over the last 50 years, so it's fitting that someone wrote a
book that documents those changes. Milt covers that period in a novel structured in the classical
tradition of Hamlet and Oedipus Rex -- as both a murder mystery and a tragedy. In brief, after a series
of mysterious slayings in a small Southern town, a grad student suddenly finds himself caught up in a
20th-century version of The Pilgrim's Progress as he searches for morality in a high-tech world of
conflicting ideologies. As Milt states, "It falls within the 'spiritual adventure' genre that seems to be
growing in popularity -- but with an existential twist. It is designed for sophisticated readers, ranging
from college students to middle-aged professionals who demand more from fiction than simple
Secular Nation, Fourth Quarter, 2004
Reviewed by Joy Sanz-Agero
Honestly intriguing, a page turner to truth.
Austin Adams was born in 1933, the only son of a self-taught Baptist preacher in the fictitious college
town of Pinegrove, Texas. The novel is about how Austin grows up and away from his roots of
fundamentalist Christianity. His father taught him that anyone named Adams is a direct descendant of
Adam and Eve. While teaching Austin to say bedtime prayers, his father terrified him with stories of
hell's fire and brimstone, which reminded me of a scary childhood prayer in which I asked an angel of
God "to take me to heaven if I should die before I wake." I cheered Austin as he angered his father with
unanswerable questions about Adam and Eve and Neanderthals, and how WAS Noah able to save all
the animals in the flood.
The story ended in 1984 with the re-election of Ronald Reagan. As each year was introduced we
learned of historical events in the United States and the world and how they affected Austin's life and
those of his family and friends, or not. I loved tweaking my memory as Austin or his parents listened to
the radio, went to the movies, watched TV, or read "Life Magazine" (while doubting that someone like
Austin's father would really allow it in the house).
I taught American History, but there was much I learned in the items Timmons included in the march of
history from the thirties to the mid-eighties. For example, how Communism with its atheism caused such
fear in the Pope and many of the Christian world that they allied themselves with fascism; how Hitler
gained favor with both the Catholic Church and the Protestants by granting them tax privileges and
allowing them to teach Christian spirit and moral law in public schools as long as they praised the Reich
and the Fuhrer in the churches; how a segment of US population hated Roosevelt; and how our
presidents have used alignment and special privileges with Christianity to pursue their political aims.
Austin studied the Catholic Church in detail as he romanced a Catholic co-ed at PGSC. He concluded
that the Catholic Church invented Christianity. He reminded his Baptist dad who ranted against
Catholics that the Bible he put all his faith in would not have existed without the Holy Roman Catholic
Church. The people he met led him and us through a study of Judaism, Mormonism, Rosicrucianism,
Rastafarianism, Existentialism, Buddhism, and other religious philosophies.
His professor, Gus Eriksen, at PGSC taught Austin to evaluate any concept by three rules: 1) Define
the terms clearly; (If the hypothesis can't be defined, throw it out.); 2) Is the concept testable? (If there
is no way to test the hypothesis, then throw it out.) and 3) If there is not enough evidence, or the
evidence doesn't support the hypothesis, then throw it out. Could there be a man like Gus teaching at
a small state Texas college? Well, people like Gus ARE sometimes found in unusual places as I have
discovered in my life.
I truly enjoyed this novel. It was a wonderful intellectual experience
Reader Reviews from Amazon.com
(5 Stars) The Definitive Freethought Novel, September 5, 2004
Reviewer: Bart Aikens (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
"Regarding an Angel's Flight" does for freethought what Tolstoy did for war and peace.
(5 Stars) Must Read, June, 12, 2004
Reviewer: Rachel Sene (Santa Monica, California, USA)
I have read this book. It is a mind opening experience. I have been searching for this kind of book for
years. Thank you Amazon for having this book.
(5 Stars) Regarding an Angel's Flight, June 9, 2004
Reviewer: Renee Bream (Northridge, CA, USA)
This novel was the fascinating story of a young man's individuation from the values of his family -- and
how his views of life and self evolved (and were shaped by) the major world events of his time. It might
be called "historical fiction," but the historical events depicted were chillingly accurate. "Regarding an
Angel's Flight" is a journey well worth taking!
(4 Stars) Like an Introduction to Modern History, May 2, 2004
Reviewer: Linda Strnad (Reseda, CA)
This book brilliantly interweaves all the big issues of politics, science, religion, and philosophy, as they
have evolved over the last half century, and as they have affected the lives of a colorful and diverse
cast of characters.
I particularly appreciated the way the author made each character so believable and three-
dimensional; I almost felt that I actually knew these people.
Those of a certain age should also enjoy remembering "the way we were" -- reflected through movies,
radio programs, TV, songs, clothing, cars, architecture, slang, etc.
The book was such a feast of sights, sounds and other sensory delights that one reading is not really
enough. A very satisfying experience.
(3 Stars) A Pilgrim's Progress to Atheism, April 25, 2004
Reviewer: Johnny I. Montgomery (Salado, Texas, USA)
This is a disturbing story of a young man's moral development through his relationship with several
emotionally dysfunctional females, a psychologically unstable father who is a minister, his
acquaintances during a stint in the Navy, and a college professor whose beliefs are totally out of sync
with those in a university, located in a small East Texas town filled with rednecks and anti-intellectuals.
The story would be best described as the biography of an atheist or the case against Christianity.
Major events that reflect the changing moral values of the country are all focused on the small
community of Pinegrove and include anti-war demonstrations, civil rights marches, KKK activities and
confrontations associated with integration.
The author does an interesting job of integrating world events into the story of the disillusionment of a
young man on his path to atheism. The current events emphasize the enlightenment of America from a
liberal point of view and at the same time takes the reader through a history of the movies and
television. A murder mystery is an underlying theme in the story and keeps the reader turning the
pages to the very end.
This is a shocking story that will shake the faith of any believer. Virtually every religious belief is
scrutinized until the story comes to its disturbing conclusion.
(5 Stars) Fascinating and Historic Adventure of a Journey to Truth, April 26,
Reviewer: Morris Lubick "Rowland/Lubick/thoughts" (Winnetka, CA)
This grand and sweeping story depicts the decades of the 30s through the 80s in the United States
through the eyes of Austin Adams as he grows up and as he grows in understanding.
Throughout this whole period, as background for the reader, Adams' personal activities are set against
the historical information the author intersperses. This information is helpful even for those who've
lived through these times as well as for readers trying to get the whole picture. This is so even as
Adams' actions and the settings also give us background and are informative in the various scenes by
themselves. The intermittent explanations only add dimension.
News clippings and directly quoted material provide a unique take on the period, helping us see how
reporters, especially undercover, non mainstream ones have viewed the era as it advances and
changes. Quotes from historians only enhance the actions of Adams as he goes through various
periods of his life. He's shown as a small boy, as a small town college student, a serviceman, a San
Francisco hippie and a Los Angeles Counterculture seeker, among other stages in his quest.
The story of Adams' childhood comes wonderfully alive. We are treated to a portrayal of small town life
in Texas in the 30s. Boys will be boys and Austin has a personal life with friends away from his Bible-
quoting, small minded, abusive parents. His elaborate "fort" serves many purposes in addition to a
place to hang out and read comics. It makes a good hiding place, too, when circumstances make that
An early friendship with a young girl becomes a budding romance over time, but it comes to an end in a
way that will haunt Adams throughout the rest of his life.
Adams' life is a journey toward understanding. The many characters he comes across each add to his
growing body of philosophical and psychological understandings. Each of the many characters is
drawn skillfully by the author. They interact with Adams in realistic ways. They serve to tell his story in
full ways, not as mere conduits for the various philosophies they espouse. There is the Brooklyn-
accented, existentially inclined girlfriend; the Catholic, oddly inhibited yet uninhibited girlfriend who
mystifies him while showing him the pernicious influence of her religion; and many more, both male and
It's impossible to cover the many characters, but particularly worth noting is the influence of the fellows
he meets in the service. Each adds a piece to his personal philosophy and their antics add to his
understanding of the human psyche. Each contributes to Adams' leaving his parents' Baptist religion
farther and farther behind, as he widens his experiences on his voyage toward rationality.
The professor in his small college town plays the biggest part. He is instructor, mentor, and reason for
Adams to come near the end of his adventure in California, near the cable cars.
If the name of the cable car route shows us that Adams is an innocent angel in a corrupt and incompre-
hensible world, then the end of this story, back in Texas where he begins his flight, is all too apt.
This is a worthwhile book, entertaining and with a point of view. Rationality over superstition is to be
sought after no matter what the price or the consequences.
(5 stars) Riveting, August 3, 2008
Reviewed by Christine Gorham (San Diego, CA)
I delayed reading this book due to its size and the amount of available time I had. I finished it in two
weeks, part time! I was captivated by the details of American and world history. Some of the carefully
researched facts have not been previously known by the typical American, including myself. It also
gave some very interesting facts about many different religions and how they have been used to obtain
and hold power. It party felt like a 1933 - 1984 fictional version of a People's History of the United
States. The characters in this book brought the entire scene to life in brilliant color. There are rich
descriptions of all aspects of human life!!
I highly recommend this book for anyone!
(5 stars) Fast Moving Coming of Age Story
Reviewed by Sarah Trachtenberg July 20, 2009
Weaving 20th century history with a fictitious biography, a young man goes through a spiritual
journey as the nation itself comes of age. The novel has a cast of well-conceived characters that are
larger than life, all of them contributing to the protagonist's efforts. Not many novels illustrate the
struggle between atheism and religion on a personal level this way.