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Hitch-22: A Memoir

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  10,344 ratings  ·  934 reviews
Over the course of his 60 years, Christopher Hitchens has been a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom. He has been both a socialist opposed to the war in Vietnam and a supporter of the U.S. war against Islamic extremism in Iraq. He has been both a foreign correspondent in some of the world's most dangerous places and a legendary bon vivant with an unque ...more
Paperback, 434 pages
Published June 3rd 2011 by Twelve (first published January 1st 2010)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker as well? Kurt Vonnegut: Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons

The Young Christopher Hitchens

This is my first time reading a Christopher Hitchens's book; of course, it is not my first exposure to Hitchens. He was a favorite of talk shows. (He followed his friend Gore Vidal's advice never to turn down a chance to be on TV.) He attended rallies and protests domestic and foreign. He wrote ince
Petra X smokin' hot
Update: Look what I just found! A story in the NYPost about my little anecdote. I like he went out with the lesbian girlfriend of my friend. I don't think he ever knew the truth about Bill and inhaling. He just guessed.


Ok, I've pussyfooted around this long enough with teasing comments. Tell-all time.

Hitchens states that Clinton's famous statement on him not inhaling was correct. That he knew him at Oxford and that Clinton was allergic to smoke. This isn't true. I know by evidence of my own
Now this is a memoir worth reading! We are in the Age of Memoir, but so few deserve the time. Christopher Hitchens lived enough for 10 lives -- he was a revolutionary, journalist, provocateur, vagabond, contrarian, essayist, raconteur, socialist, intellectual, atheist and he loved a good Scotch.

Hitch, as his friends called him, started writing his autobiography when he turned 60. The story goes that in 2009 he was surprised to see the phrase "the late Christopher Hitchens" beneath a photo of hi
Dec 16, 2011 Paul marked it as assorted-rants-about-stuff  ·  review of another edition
Stupidity and cruelty in high places can sleep a little easier now that Christopher Hitchens has gone. He was not so much a writer as a presence. He raised contempt to the level of high art. I may not have agreed with a whole lot of what he said but it gladdened the heart that he said it at all, and inspired the mind in the way that he said it. Complex sentences seemed to appear fully formed in his brain as he spoke. It was almost frightening. In the end he showed us how the good atheist dies. T ...more
I first heard of Hitchens on the day of his death – in my defence I was still quite new to the UK and was just getting familiar with the intellectual life here (insert a self-mocking chuckle here). What I managed to gather from the news that day was that he was UK’s no. 1 atheist, so that immediately put him on my radar and when I bought a Kindle this was the first book I bought for it (it was also a Kindle Daily Deal). It was an updated edition which included a heart-felt introduction Hitchens ...more
Hitch 22 is more of a survey and opinion of modern history than a memoir. In part this is due to the spectacular public life that Hitchens has led, but it doesn't feel like an account from someone who has led a life at all. For someone who holds passionate and often (though not always) beautifully supported opinions, Hitchens presents his own life in a very detached manner. There is bountiful name dropping of really only public figures. His family of origin is sparsely mentioned, his current wif ...more
Erik Simon
First, a confession: If I had the power to change lives with anyone currently living on this earth, I would choose Christopher Hitchens. He's one of those Brits who seems to have read everything and can speak as fluidly about Milton, Shakespeare and Marx as he can arcane foreign policy, the U.S. Constitution and religious laws in Germany. Too, he has traveled everywhere (he says in this memoir that he makes a point of traveling to a less fortunate country every year), and his friends with whom h ...more
In March 2010, Rabbi David Wolpe debated Hitchens on the topic of (what else?) religion and eventually sputtered, "Don't interrupt me! I didn't interrupt you."

Hitchens smiled. "No, you weren't quick enough."

If that sort of delicious irony makes you swoon, you'll likely adore Hitchens' memoir. If that sort of disrespectful self-regard makes you seethe, you're unlikely to enjoy less than one page of it. I find myself in the middle, possibly the one and only Person On Earth Who Feels Moderately Abo
Nick Black
Apr 04, 2011 Nick Black rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nick by: slate, nyt
Shelves: likely-reread

good book, though. SHIT SHIT SHIT.
Todd N
Who is the man who would risk his neck for a brother man? Hitch!
He's a complicated man and no one understands him but his mama. Chris Hitch!
Hitch is a bad mother--Shut your mouth!

All right, enough of that. This is an amazing book that I want everyone to read. To get an idea of how great it is -- finding out the identity of Deep Throat when it was still a closely guarded secret only merits a footnote in this massive memoir.

I picked it up because it was recommended to me by a lot of people. Usuall
Chance Maree
Hitchens was a curiosity. I sporadically followed his interviews and writing, admired his courage travelling to world hot spots and in the face of his own mortality, yet couldn't quite keep him pinned in any one category of intellectuals. Hitchens was an Anti: Anti-theist, Anti-fascist, Anti-totalitarian, Anti-Stalin, Anti-Zionist....I didn't follow him that closely, but the list goes on. I was curious as to whether I fundamentally agreed with him or not, given that many times I had agreed, and ...more
Hitch -22, some confessions and contradictions, is an apt title for this book. Even though it starts like a regular autobiography and goes on to be one in the end, it’s not linear and complete. There isn’t so much of Hitchens private life there. Most of it deals with his political and social views: his convictions and reflections on democracy, totalitarianism, terrorism and religion and an explanation of his changing political views. There are great bits on his friends: Martin Amis, Salman Rushd ...more
One of the very few disappointments of this book was how little it explains Hitchens' political views. He started out, in his youth, as a Marxist radical, even spending a summer in Cuba at a revolutionary boot camp. Later, he carries the mantel of leftism and socialism into his early career as a journalist and extremely well-read bon vivant. But then, somewhere down the road, as he reaches middle age and moves to the US, and after hearing his old comrades' stale rhetoric in reaction to sundry wo ...more
Well, I went back and tallied it up and this is the seventh book by Hitchens that I have read (so far; and only if you count A Long Short War as a book, but it’s really more of a pamphlet). I keep up with his Slate column on a weekly basis and have read many Hitch articles in Vanity Fair and elsewhere. Despite being such a devotee, this is the first book I’ve rated five stars.

First, to address the complaint of a well-respected and prolific reviewer, Toe Knee, in his scathing attack of Thomas Je
A.J. Howard
The first time I read Christopher Hitchens I thought he was completely full of shit. I don't remember the exact specifics, but I have a decent enough recall of the circumstances. My metaphorical cherry was popped by his "Fighting Words" column on Slate, and I can all but guarantee that that the topic was Iraq. This must have been at some point in the months immediately following the invasion, after the initial toppling-of-statues glow of liberation was beginning to wain. Since I had never read H ...more
Mark Desrosiers
Let's be honest here: this glowering Trotskyist sounded and looked convincing during the War on Terror, but I couldn't help but think he was the wettest sprocket-toady around. I used to love him, don't get me wrong: his public eviscerations of Mother Theresa, Henry Kissinger, and Bill Clinton made him the ballsiest of the rads, a ham-hock in our lefty cornflakes. But then 9/11 happened, and why was Hitch suddenly hanging out with lizards like Michael Chertoff and Paul Wolfowitz, while publicly b ...more
Erez Davidi
The first book by Hitchens that I read was God is Not Great, which I found to be on the borderline of decent, not because I’m a certified atheist, but rather because I felt cheated by the title. The only thing that Hitchens has proved is that organized religion is not great. I then read Arguably, which is a wonderful collection of Hitchens’ essays and book reviews. About two weeks ago I finished reading Mortality, another wonderful collection of essays concerning his unfortunate cancer. Only the ...more
The chief attributes were the references to the Amis clan. There wasn't much else but a bloviated rasping.

It may be fitting that I finished the book at a shopping mall, waiting for my wife. The structure of this memoir could strike one as a pitch. Maybe the mark finds forgiveness, maybe the neo-con conversion was genetic. The blood made him do it. I'll stop there.
I loved this autobiographical book. I listened to a full length copy read by the author who not only has a lovely reading voice but soft and intimate tones. The book itself is revelatory and personal of course, but his manner of reading was charming as well as intimate. (I'm usually not wild about authors reading their own books, but in this case I can't imagine anyone could have done it better.)

I don't review what he said since most of you have read it. I hadn't read anything by Hitchens except
I’ve recently undertaken to complete all those half-read books lying about my room, or, at least, the ones I stopped out of distraction rather than dislike, and Hitchens’ memoir was the first one I decided to pick up. But perhaps I’d put it down for a reason. Hitchens writes with humor and passion and verve and allusion, but, goodness, over 400 pages his arrogance overwhelmed even me, and I'm a total Hitchens mark who in the first place eagerly bought the memoir of a man whose not so modest Fox ...more
Koen Crolla
I bought this book hoping to find out what leads a Marxist to adopt some of the more sociopathic stances of the American far right (or what leads an extremist wingnut to call himself a Marxist), and the answer is disappointing: there is absolutely nothing of substance behind the façade of pretentious vocabulary and pompous prose, and Hitchens' positions on basically anything (certainly politics, religion, and his bizarrely naïve infatuation with the US) are entirely determined by reactionary opp ...more
May 2013
I don't know if I'm ever going to finish this - I read most of it last August and still keep picking it up every now and again, reading 5 pages or so and deciding something else would be more interesting. So, half-way through the book, I'm going to write a response to it anyway (and general reflection and rant about related issues).

In many ways I agree with my friend Patrick's review. After the first few chapters, this isn't the side of Hitchens I find interesting: for the most part he i
This is an absolutely engaging, and breathtakingly hilarious memoir by a man whose life parallels mine, except he's a well-known intellectual and lifelong activist, and I'm just an ersatz brainy mover. We were born in the same town, the same year; we speak with the same slightly plummy accent and became Americans at the same time. We both drank and smoked our way through adventures (I quit the fags many years ago, FYI friends), but in the process he mingled and was friends with famous politician ...more
Christopher Hitchens, the famous atheist, contrarian, author and man of ideas writes HITCH 22 not as a public figure, but as a man full of contradictions from political convictions to personal principles. From the suicide of his beloved mother, caustic confrontations with his brother, and long treasured relationships with Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie, Christopher shares his life with the reader in his memoir not to be missed.
Kevin Kizer
I've been eagerly anticipating this memoir. Great read! Hitchens truly is a great writer with a unique voice.
I've discovered that there is nothing quite as entertaining as watching Christopher Hitchens take part in (and win) a debate. I insist you search for such a debate on YouTube (they are plentiful). After coming upon this witty and ingenious man through YouTube videos, I wanted to know more about him. And, voila: Hitch-22.

Beginning with his family roots and ending with his struggle to find his political identity as well as to come to terms with mortality (and containing in-between his education, p
I had actually just started reading this when Hitchens died. It’s a very dense read requiring extreme concentration as the literary and political allusions are thick on the pages. But it was well worth it as H is passionate about what he believes in and argues brilliantly. And the population density in this book (see the cast of characters in the blurb above)! It sounds like name-dropping but he knew virtually all of them.
He makes much of his split with the Left but much of that sounds rather li
Unlike some of his other "New Atheist" contemporaries (the cloistered, pseudointellectual Sam Harris comes to mind), one can say this much about Christopher Hitchens - he was complicated. His memoirs here can be at times moving - most especially when discussing universal themes such as philosophy, love of books, relationships with parents and the like, but also sometimes absolutely cringeworthy for its bullheaded arrogance and myopia.

He spends a large chunk of it defending the Iraq War, not onl
Andy M
I end this book with the same belief that I had carried before I heard the first words (on audiobook): There's no such thing as a tell-all autobiography. We merely have to decide as readers if the author's omissions were meant to protect himself from scrutiny, friends and family from shame, or readers from banality. I can assure other readers that the last of those possible reasons couldn't have been the case.

The book is compelling in the way that Hitchens is nearly always compelling even while
Vivian Valvano
The published reviews had prepared me: this is not a conventional memoir. It's more a series of essays, in the style to which readers of Hitchens are accustomed. I thought some things were excellent, especially: the "job" he does on the English public schools; his rendition of his 1960s (he is only a little older than I, so it was most interesting to think about his 1960s against the context of my own); his recollections of Oxford; his estimable love for and seriousness about his work as a journ ...more
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The Atheist Book ...: "Hitch-22: A Memoir" by Christopher Hitchens - general discussion 5 40 Jan 24, 2014 06:10PM  
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Christopher Eric Hitchens (April 13, 1949 – December 15, 2011) was an English-born American author, journalist and literary critic. He was a contributor to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, World Affairs, The Nation, Slate, Free Inquiry and a variety of other media outlets. Hitchens was also a political observer, whose best-selling books — the most famous being God Is Not Great — made him a staple of tal ...more
More about Christopher Hitchens...
God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever Mortality Arguably: Selected Essays Letters to a Young Contrarian

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