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Christopher Hitchens is preeminently in the second group.
Last year, his prolific career — which spanned such iconic titles as …About a year ago, I was informed by a doctor that I might have as little as another year to live.
In consequence, some of these articles were written with the full consciousness that they might be my very last.” The anthology collects some of Hitchens’ best recent work — including “America the Banana Republic,” “Why Women Aren’t Funny,” “Iran’s Waiting Game,” and “God of Our Fathers: The United States of Enlightenment” — imbued with his signature style of lucid nonfiction written with the passion and narrative enchantment of really, really good fiction.
This output is fueled (a word he detests) by consistent and unvarying opinions.
Though he has a soft spot for the English Reformation because it destroyed Catholic power, he dislikes all religions in an ascending intensity from Protestantism to Catholicism to Islam.
Topics range from ruminations on why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men to the haunting science fiction of J. Ballard; from the enduring legacies of Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell to the persistent agonies of anti-Semitism and jihad.
Hitchens even looks at the recent financial crisis and argues for the enduring relevance of Karl Marx.Even when he condemns, as in his discussion of Waugh, he can see virtues to mitigate faults. His venom is always potent (especially against the Clintons, Saddam Hussein, and Hezbollah), but history has already come to mock several of his arguments—none so much, perhaps, as his virtually hysterical championing of the second Gulf War, a crime that is most responsible for the current chaos in the Middle East.He also excoriates "the moist, vapid effusion that greeted the death of Diana Spencer" and the unearned appropriation of grief at the killings at Virginia Tech as "proof of how utterly painless all this vicarious 'pain' really is." And his view of the British royal family can be summed up in "This is what you get when you found a political system on the family values of Henry VIII." But he is equally sharp on the failings of JFK.Although Hitchens can be snarky, he makes interesting and often valid points, mostly negative, about the weakness of Ezra Pound's "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley," and his analysis of Rebecca West's is both pointed and balanced.The third, it might be said, gave his life as well as took it: loading up his modest car with petrol and explosives and blasting open the gate of the Katiba barracks in Benghazi — symbolic Bastille of the detested and demented Qadafi regime in Libya.” has remained free (and ad-free).It takes me hundreds of hours a month to research and compose, and thousands of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy and value in what I do, please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good lunch. Claim yours: is in its twelfth year and because I write primarily about ideas of a timeless character, I have decided to plunge into my vast archive every Wednesday and choose from the thousands of essays one worth resurfacing and resavoring.The book forms a bridge between the two parallel enterprises of culture and politics.It reveals how politics justifies itself by culture, and how the latter prompts the former. James, John Buchan, Allen Drury, Timothy Garton Ash, Arthur Koestler, Edward Said, Hector Hugh Munro, Victor Serge, Upton Sinclair, Edward Upward, W.Ordinary book reviewers have three tasks: to determine what the author set out to do; how well that task was accomplished; and whether it was worth undertaking.Here the reviewer is in a way subordinate to the book.