Arguably: Selected Essays
― Christopher Hitchens, Arguably: Selected Essays
It is hard to not love Hitchens. Or hate him. God I miss him. He was one of those journalists and public intellectuals (yes, that is a tired phrase) that constantly made me feel I needed to up my game a bit. I would read a (no I will NOT use an) Hitchens article in Vanity Fair or Slate or about anywhere and realize that ...more
Barbarism is not the inheritance of our prehistory. It is the companion that dogs our every step.
(Alain Finkielkraut, quoted in Hitchens' Introduction)
Christopher Hitchens in 2007
4 1/2 stars
Christopher Hitchens doesn’t need much of an introduction. Just a few words here, condensed from the following Wiki articles: Hitchens, Political views and New Atheism.
He was born in England in 1949, died in the U.S. in 2011. Educated at Oxford, he moved to the United States in 1981, as part of an “ ...more
What Is As American as Apple Pie? [answer is be-low]
This is the cynosure of all essay collections. It's too bad that most of my goodreads friends will likely skip this review in its entirety (basing this guess on 17 likes in a couple of years and two improvements/updates).
In any case, I cannot find the right words to describe how much I love this book. I go back to it often to sharpen my thinking and writing and arguing skills. His wit was nearly as ...more
Before his death, I had a vague awareness of Christopher Hitchens, having read some of his contributions to Vanity Fair, but he never struck me as someone I should be paying close attention to until after he had died a ...more
--Gods of Our Fathers: The United States of Enlightenment
--The Private Jefferson
--Jefferson Versus the Muslim Pirates
--Benjamin Franklin: Free and Easy
--John Brown: The Man Who Ended Slavery
--Abraham Lincoln: Misery's Child
--Mark Twain: American Radical
--Upton Sinclair: A Capitalist Primer
--JFK: In Sickness and by Stealth
--Saul Bellow: The Great Assimilator
--Vladimir Nabokov: Hurricane Lolita
--John Updike, Part One: No Way
--John Updike, Part Two: Mr. Geniality
--Vidal Loco ...more
Boy was this man well-read. As you can probably tell ...more
There were some definite serendipities, such as a run of essays on authors I too like very much (Waugh, Greene, Powell, Wodehouse, Nabokov), and some discussions that made me want to rush out and look again at others (I've only started the Flashman series, and he kept bringing it up). The po ...more
In its entirety, the book is a massive tribute to Hitchens’ eclectic erudition. The collection is a feast of brilliant, impassioned argume ...more
A line appearing somewhere near the midpoint of this collection of essays is revealing: “Stay with me. I've been doing the hard thinking for you.” Christopher Hitchens does a lot of hard thinking apparently; keep up if you can. This may suggest that considerable ego is involved, and given the author's reputation you can be sure that it is, but on display too is considerable erudition.
The book is composed of six sections roughly dividing the essays on theme. Most important for an understanding o...more
Brilliant, just brilliant.
Hitchens writes with such clarity, force and humour. There are about 100 essays in this compilation, mostly from the decade just before he died, and about half are book reviews. So it didn’t take a year read, thanks to some time off in NZ, but I did have to read the essays twice at least to allow full absorption by my tiny brain.
The range of topics is simply amazing, and I can do little more than simply list some of the more memorable ones so I don’t forget. The books ...more
The full-scale electronic edition is almost as infuriating as Hitchens' views on Iraq; it's 750 pages of unindexed text, and the table of contents is impossible to scroll. (Or that might just be my [Kindle] Touch.) ...more
All of these articles have appeared in print or online (and many, if not most, are still available there), so some tend to be more topical than others. Considering he writes a column for Slate once a week, it must have been hard to de ...more
I was so enthusiastic with this point of view discovered in the first pages of this enormous book that I kept reading for a while before acknowledging that it's pointless to continue in a systematic manner and I began browsing and skipping.
The journalist's work is condemned t ...more
But what took ...more
A mordant wit and full-time provocateur, Hitchens made me smile-broadly and gnash my teeth alternately (often within the same paragraph). Hitchens provokes readers to take stock of their beliefs and question what their responsibilities are to both themselves and the world at large.
Contains many memorable pieces which I first encountered online.