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Arguably [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Hitchens
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

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Book Description

'As soon as we abandon our own reason', wrote Bertrand Russell, 'and are content

to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles.'

For over forty years, Christopher Hitchens has proclaimed truth where others have spun falsehood and written, with passionate commitment, on matters that others fear to broach. This volume of essays encompasses Hitchens' writing over the past decade on politics, literature and religion.

In Arguably Hitchens explores a wide range of cultural and political issues, past and present. His fresh perceptions of figures as diverse as Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Rebecca West and Philip Larkin are matched in brilliance by his acerbic discussions and intrepid observations, gathered over a lifetime of travelling and reporting from destinations such as Iran, China and Pakistan.

Hitchens' life has above all else been one of defiance and wit, courage and humility: in an age of digital punditry and twenty-four hour hucksterism, he has been a voice of reason amid the clamour, making an indelible mark on politics and literature on both sides of the Atlantic. Arguably is the indispensible companion to the Anglosphere's pre-eminent political writer.


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Review

To say that, during the past three decades, the world would have been poorer, duller and altogether a smaller place without Hitchens and his writings would be to utter a cliché of the kind he despises. It would also be true. --New Statesman

He has no equal in contemporary Anglo American letters. --Financial Times

One of the most stimulating thinkers and entertaining writers we have. --New York Times



Essays on everything... remind us what we've lost in Hitchens someone to provoke assent, outrage, laughter and thought --Sunday Telegraph



Read it you must, partly as a tribute to a great life well lived, but mainly because it is so entertaining --Sunday Times



Hitchens at his most stylish, savage, literate and brilliant --Observer

Review

"Whether on the invasion of Iraq or the merits of Vladimir Nabokov's fiction, master controversialist Hitchens has an informed opinion. . . . Vintage Hitchens. Argumentative and sometimes just barely civil -- another worthy collection from this most inquiring of inquirers." -- "Kirkus Reviews" (starred)

"These 750 pages of bright, witty, nearly always charged reportage and argument are business as usual for one of the most lucid and humane voices of our age. . . . Purposeful and well told. . . . Here are more than 700 pages of a life lived fully through meaningful work." -- Charles Foran, "Globe and Mail"

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More About the Author

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was the author of Letters to a Young Contrarian, and the bestseller No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family. A regular contributor to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly and Slate, Hitchens also wrote for The Weekly Standard, The National Review, and The Independent, and appeared on The Daily Show, Charlie Rose, The Chris Matthew's Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, and C-Span's Washington Journal. He was named one of the world's "Top 100 Public Intellectuals" by Foreign Policy and Britain's Prospect.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inarguably Good 25 Sept. 2012
By Dave_42
Format:Paperback
Christopher Hitchens had a mind which is sorely missed. Whether you agreed with what he was saying, or were on the other side of the issue, one had to respect and respond to what Hitchens had to say on the subject. "Arguably" is a collection of his essays (107 in all) put into six sections of the book, and which cover a wide variety of subjects. There are certainly a few here which are not going to be considered controversial, but the vast majority are Hitchens as he usually was, strongly opinionated on controversial subjects, and always with a significant stack of facts to back his positions; positions which he was not afraid to voice in the bluntest terms. In other words, this is Hitchens at his best (when you agree with him), and at his most difficult (when you don't).

This collection was published originally in September of 2011, with Hitchens writing a brief introduction in late June as he was suffering from oesophageal cancer from which he would pass away six months later at the all too young age of 62. The essays had been published over the course of years in a variety of publications. The subjects dealt with cover a wide range, from religion and politics, to why women aren't funny, and everything in between. The material ranges from columns, to book reviews, to book introductions.

Hitchens was one of the few members of the media who had actually visited the "axis of evil", along with many other places, and this most certainly contributed to his insights on many subjects. Hitchens was not the least bit tentative to express his opinion, but unlike other talking-heads, Hitchens was able to do it and still be credible on a subject.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hitchin' Brilliant 17 Nov. 2012
By demola
Format:Paperback
Hitchens is scintillating and irreverent in this massive volume (750 pages) which is arranged in the following sections:

All American
Writings about the founders of the Republic and Washington (the city). Hitchens, I believe, became a naturalized American but it still jarred to hear this Englishman talk about "our founding fathers". Hitch, your founding father was from Middle England or thereabouts.

Eclectic Affinities
The best part of the book for me. Hitch reviews books and authors (Wodehouse, Burke, Waugh, Greene, Saki, Spender, Orwell, Marx, Powell etc) and references so many others that you realise with dismay just how well read he was. This was the part where my debit card suffered and my local bookshops rejoiced.

Amusements
This and that

Offshore Accounts
Politics. The one about visiting Iran is very revealing. The popular Western newspaper images are not all what happens inside Iran. Some of the essays I remember from Vanity Fair, the magazine for which they were written.

Totalitarianism
You can see Hitch's leftist background here and appreciate the incredible intellectual force and moral suasion of the Left in days gone by (and Arguably just as relevant in today's world of bailed out bankers and non-tax paying billionaires). Loved the essays on Victor Serge (whose "The Case Of Comrade Tulayev" I well recommend) and on Koestler ("Darkness At Noon" - brilliant) and ... well all the others really.

Words Worth
Sundry stuff including one on the shame of the West in not standing up for Denmark when that country was under attack from the religious terrorists of the you know which religion; the one whose name can't be mentioned in the same breath as the word "fatwa".
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Collection! 11 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
It is strange to reflect that Christopher Hitchens died in late 2011; somehow the date just doesn’t seem right. This volume, however, which is his penultimate collection of essays (the final one being ‘Mortality’, the content of which was written as he was undergoing treatment for oesophageal cancer), does help to explain why it doesn’t seem so long ago. In every one of the articles anthologised here, Hitchens lives up to the advice he was once given as a much younger man and journalist: on being informed by an editor that his work was well argued but dull, he was told to write the way he spoke. And so he did, and all his wit, erudition and passion found its way onto the page, with the result that to read this book is to experience a sense of extraordinary freshness.
This passion is directed in various directions, but the titles of the sections or chapters provide clues: ‘All American’, ‘Eclectic Affinities’, ‘Amusements, Annoyances and Disappointments’, ‘Offshore Accounts’, ‘Legacies of Totalitarianism’, and ‘Words’ Worth’. The first covers subjects such as the Founding Fathers, American literary classics, and the idea of the ‘Washington Novel’, and leads perfectly onto the second section, which is all about writers and their life and work. The diversity and sheer range is clear: across these first two chapters, Twain leads to Nabokov to Jessica Mitford to P.G. Wodehouse to J.K. Rowling, with many more in between, and in every discussion, considerations of literature and politics are blended in a breathtakingly informative, readable and often very amusing way.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Classical prose at the service of some Hitchens bugbears
Some have compared the late Christopher Hitchens to Orwell; having recently read the latter's essays of the forties, the similarities are clear - Hitchens has a clarity and... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Ken
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
5 star read always
Published 2 months ago by Thomas Kevin Phillips
4.0 out of 5 stars To have his writings and articles in one place on a huge range of...
what resource! and i speak as a believer! To have his writings and articles in one place on a huge range of subjects in one volume- very handy and a great well to draw out from... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. K. Downey
4.0 out of 5 stars HITCHENS WRITES WITH CLARITY AND THE WORD 'ARGUABLY' IN THE ...
HITCHENS WRITES WITH CLARITY AND THE WORD 'ARGUABLY' IN THE TITLE GIVES AN INDICATION OF HOW IT IS WRITTEN. I WOULD DISAGREE WITH SOME OF HIS CONCLUSIONS BUT IT IS WORTH READING.
Published 3 months ago by Pearl
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Bad-tempered Christopher
I love Bad-tempered Christopher. His intelligence shines out, like a beacon
He has an interesting perspective on all subjects. For him, you could take it or leave it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Maria B
4.0 out of 5 stars What has been lost...
Slowly but surely, I am getting through this magnum opus. In fact, I've almost finished. I have come to appreciate the Christopher Hitchens' oeuvre only after his death. Read more
Published 4 months ago by G. D. Busby
5.0 out of 5 stars A great collection of essays....
Christopher Hitchens stands firmly in the company of the great essayists, namely Addison, Steele, Johnson and Orwell. Read more
Published 5 months ago by os
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not much to say
Published 6 months ago by Quay
4.0 out of 5 stars Some of his greatest hits
He writes so well that he can make a very convincing case even when he is wrong.
Published 6 months ago by Steve Hann
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Genuine masterpiece.
Published 7 months ago by S. Mason
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