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Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,745 ratings  ·  85 reviews
"I did not, I wish to state, become a journalist because there was no other 'profession' that would have me. I became a journalist because I did not want to rely on newspapers for information." Love, Poverty and War: Journeys and Essays showcases America's leading polemicist's rejection of consensus and cliché whether he's reporting from abroad in Indonesia, Kurdistan, Ir ...more
Paperback, 482 pages
Published November 24th 2004 by Bold Type Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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 ·  1,745 ratings  ·  85 reviews

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Oct 24, 2007 rated it liked it
there are moments when hitchens will assume the reader is familiar with some quip cyril connely made to evelyn waugh at a party in 1951. wouldn't be so bad if your understanding of the last three pages didn't depend on knowing the joke. just inconsiderate to those of us with public school educations.

still a great writer. i disagree with him on many issues. but feel compelled to read his views on a subject as a sort of check to my own prejudices.

Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow -- whatever one may think of Hitch's politics, the guy sure could write! Took me a while to get through this one, not because he's dry, but because the entries that interested me were so well done that I wanted the book to last longer.

What to expect: the essays are roughly divided into historical and literary criticism, travel and current events (best way I can put it), followed by ones focusing on 9/11 and Iraq (the book "ends" in 2004). The first section was the most difficult for me, not
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
When you come across a book of journals, chances are you won't read all of them, just the ones that interest you. If you do happen to pick this journal up with the intention of doing as such, make sure you read the North Korean story in "War" closer to the end.

It was fantastic. Everything Hitchens said felt like it had dual meaning. On the surface, completely cordial. But from a sceptical Western perspective, every second sentence cut like a knife against Pyong Yang.

Congrats Chris. If this is a
Jakob J.
(4.5 stars) I loved this man. This forthcoming review may take some time, and take much out of me.
Mar 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
“Time, then, is of the essence, and Proust is interested in slowing it down, if not exactly holding it up, so as to enable himself to take longer sips from the precious but evaporating fluid.”

Classic Hitchens over-the-coals raking:
“I can really measure redundancy only in English, and I had already noticed in Davis’s introduction a reference to ‘the wistful closing coda in the Bois de Boulogne.’ A coda can only be a closure, so the sin of redundancy (or tautology, or pleonasm) is one that Davis m
Jan 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
christopher hitchens could write a novel about the wart on his nose and i would happily read every word..the man can WRITE, and with more thought, humor and empathy that just about anyone alive. even if you disagree with him (which happens a surprising amount), the last thing you want to do is shut him up.
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: essays
This was the first Hitchens that I read and it came out at an interesting juncture in his life, right in the middle of his move from left to right, and (for what it’s worth) right in the middle of my journey the other way. It’s been interesting to revisit. He remains an entertaining and engaging writer and his book reviews have stood the test of time. But what to make of his embrace of jingoism? (Or his conversion to freedom’s cause, if you are of that mindset.) Was it purely mercenary? Did he p ...more
Jon Arnold
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays, ebooks
For all he owed much of his reputation to his political journalism and his willingness to play devil’s advocate (once literally, as he details here in ‘The Devil and Mother Teresa’) the more I read of Hitchens the more I’m convinced that his writings on literature should be the ones he should be remembered by. Here they comprise the vast bulk of the ‘love’ section and are almost unfailingly fascinating, engaging critically with the texts in the purest sense of criticism. It added to my appreciat ...more
Andrew Rosner
I read this book several years ago after picking it up for a song in a great old bookstore in Chicago. After recently hearing about Hitchens' treatment for cancer, I revisited the book as a reminder that we could lose one of the most iconoclastic writers of our time. Hitchens is that rarest of writers today, a man of the left who really does care about liberal democracy. And while I don't always agree with him, I always admire the breadth of his knowledge (it seems like he's read everything unde ...more
Gavin Smith
This is a great collection of essays that reminded me of just what a good writer Hitchens was. Beyond his combative television interviews and his reputation for controversy, he really, really could put pen to paper. There are lots of interesting and entertaining essays here. The Medals of His Defeats, The Strange Case of David Irving, Why Americans Are Not Taught History, The Gospel According to Mel and, especially, Visit to a Small Planet were all highlights from the early part of the book. The ...more
A.J. Howard
Feb 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
"By no means the least of the consolations now available to the unbeliever, and to those who live outside the lines of conventional virtue, is the thought that if we turn out to be mistaken in our Cartesian wagers, and find ourselves in the long, long chute to a smoke-and-brimstone filled afterlife, Christopher will be there at the bottom to welcome us with a drink and, why not, a cigarette."

- D.D Guttenplan
Aug 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Heavy read, but interesting. Takes aim at Winston Churchill, Mother Theresa, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Mel Gibson, and allegedly oppressive no smoking regulations implemented by the Mayor of New York.
Aug 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
I don't always agree with Mr. Hitchens but his arguments are compelling and his acerbic wit is a hoot 'n' a half. ...more
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One gets drawn into Hitchens scintillating prose, regardless of the topics of his essays. Some of the topics were of minimal interest to me but I nevertheless got drawn into reading them because he writes with such verve and his opinions are so well articulated (not all the time) that one goes ahead with the next sentence. The subjects of his essays are varied from high brow book reviews to reportage from troubled spots, to views on current happenings; Hitchens remains a trenchant critic, never ...more
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
As per usual, this is a collection of Hitch's essays in which the more literary-inclined segments might as well be written in Akkadian to my uncultured eyes, while the rest are immensely enjoyable. This is a particularly fascinating collection of essays as it features pieces from either side of 9/11--the event which took Hitchens from "the Left" to "neoconservatism." While I cannot be ultimately persuaded by articles like the last in this book, in which he romantically, to an almost maudlin degr ...more
Fraser Kinnear
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some great essays in here. My favorites included
- A sequence of great book reviews (my favorites were on Huxley, Greene, and Kingsley Amis, and Joyce)
- His trip down Sunset Blvd in LA in '95
- His finding petty laws to break in Bloomberg's NYC
- His disgust in being witness to some state-ordered executions
- THe US public education systems' shortcomings in teaching history
- His takedowns of the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa and Mel Gibson and Michael Moore
- Time he spent with the Kurds for Nat Geo
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Wavering between 3 and 4 stars. Hitchens could write so evocatively about so many different topics and this is a very good collection of essays written in the late-90s through 2003. The first section of book reviews was my least favorite, but the Americana section, specifically his trek along Route 66, picks things up. "The Devil and Mother Teresa" and "Blessed are the Phrasemakers" are two other standouts. The final section, which includes several essays in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, is p ...more
Adam Carrington
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Breathtaking collection of political journalism, social commentary, and literary criticism from the very best. No superlatives strong enough. Peerless subject knowledge and merciless conviction of argument. I'm familiar with Hitchens' books, but it's another thing entirely to read his 9 to 5 journalistic work. I'm more informed for having done so. ...more
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Starts strong, finishes weak. There is a lot less to learn - much less enjoy - in the material that deals with the War on Terror. That said, the stuff that deals with the first Gulf War neatly illustrates that his being in favour of the next wasn't a wholesale abandoning of former positions, but a continuation of them. ...more
Robert Pocock
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written collection of essays and articles showcasing Hitchens' range. Readers familiar with previous collections will recognise favourite references (Waugh, Orwell, Auden etc.) deployed with to great effect. I found the final post-Iraq war articles poignant as one can't help feeling that the author was desperate to believe that the occupation would succeed. ...more
I was going to give it 4 stars, because Hitchens keeps on making obscure references at times, but then I decided I shouldn't punish the book for my own ignorance.
Witty, sharp... Classic Hitch, I like this sense of morality.
Chris Hall
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was excellent.

Normally I'd expect one or two pieces to be of no interest to me - but here there were none.

(I found it funny that in a Guardian article written on 13/09/2001, Hitchens wrote 'Bin Laden is perhaps unlikely to die in his bed' ...)
Jonathan Kear
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Probably Hitch's most accessible essay collection – at least the second half. Many of his views have proven to stand the test of time, and his erstwhile prescience is painfully evident. ...more
MG Mason
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic fiction of essays from The Hitch
Karen Woodring Miller
Jul 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
Should have named the book axes to grind and people to malign.
Chris McCartney
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Like alot of you I miss him and we could all use his wit and charm right about now.
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Brilliant collection by one of the worlds foremost literary icons
Oct 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Christopher Hitchens is consistently one of the most provocative (if at times arrogant) journalists in the world. This book is a collection of essays he's published in the Nation, Vanity Fair, and a number of other publications in the last few years. The first section, titled "Love," is purely literary criticism, and it's a fabulous demonstration of his elegance with the pen. He writes on a number of authors, Joyce, Proust, Orwell (of course), Borges, and a number of others. These essays are all ...more
Alex Pijanowski
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
If I gave this book four stars, it was only in comparison to the other works of Hitchens' which I have previously read. At times, his arguments seemed unfocused and ranting, although examples of this were far more rare than the genuine gems which I have come to expect from Hitchens. "Love, Poverty, and War" is, nonetheless, another fine showing which displays a mastery of English prose, a vibrant wit, and a solid working acquaintance with the big issues of the day. Even the most vocal of the aut ...more
Hitchens is, as usual, all sorts of awesome. This is a great book mostly because it gives you a glimpse into Hitchens just before he became known as a "neocon" for his support of the invasion of Iraq, and before he was known less as a journalist and more as an atheist.

In the essays in this book, you can see what drives the man, what makes him who he is, and why he is such a massive intellectual force. Neocon is a massive misnomer for a man who is fairly radical in his humanism and anti-theism.
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Christopher Eric Hitchens 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 talk shows and lecture circuits. He was ...more

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