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Arguably [Hardcover]

Christopher Hitchens
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Oct 2011
'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 spans Hitchens' whole career and encompasses his writing on politics, literature and religion. It is the most comprehensive collection of the work of the finest English essayist since Orwell. Arguably contains all aspects of Hitchens' wide repertoire as journalist, polemicist and critic. Divided into sections such as: 'All American', 'Eclectic Affinities' and 'Foreign Quarrels', Hitchens unfolds his views on subjects ranging from Clinton to Kissinger; Powell to Proust. 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 his indelible and brilliant mark on politics and literature on both sides of the Atlantic. While his many books exist as a formidable legacy, it is his mastery of short-form journalism and criticism that constitute his lasting claim to greatness. Arguably is a unique anthology and the indispensible companion to the Anglosphere's pre-eminent political writer.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (1 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085789255X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857892553
  • Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 146,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description


"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"

About the Author

Christopher Hitchens is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and Visiting Professor in liberal studies at the New School in New York. He is the author of numerous books, including works on Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, George Orwell, Mother Theresa, Henry Kissinger and Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as his international bestseller and National Book Award nominee, god Is Not Great.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
81 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight 1 Jan 2012
This was a Christmas gift I was not expecting. This book has proved a major distraction this Christmas break (I am supposed to be marking a heap of undergraduate assignments). I have much sympathy with Hitchens' concern over the dangers of religion but without necessarily swallowing his final conclusions. He seems to me to be an atheist with much integrity, as well as being a very informed one.

This is book to be dipped into and relished. The subjects included are diverse; There is a brilliant article on Dr Johnson that reignited my enthusiasm for the doctor, as well as some brilliant and erudite articles on American politics and literature (the one on Saul Bellow is especially poignant). Hitchens' writing style grabs your attention; this is a book that is hard to put down. His recent death (which still happened to come as a bit of a shock) is going to prove a tremendous loss to the world of letters.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inarguably Good 25 Sep 2012
By Dave_42
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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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tome to dip into 10 Dec 2011
What a man! He covers such a wide range. I don't expect to read all of this, but have already enjoyed many of the items on literary figures. I learned things about Evelyn Waugh, Somerset Maugham and Philip Larkin. And of course Hitch is so funny. Try this: "If one scans the few and cringe-making attempts to describe man-woman sex in Maugham's fiction, or if one attempts to infer anything of his conjugal relations, one is forced to picture him screwing his courage to the sticking place (or perhaps vice versa)."
There is something for everyone in this capacious compendium, which includes plenty of serious politics and some delightfully scurrilous items about sex.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchens a Master of His Art 20 Feb 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My belated introduction to the writing of Christopher Hitchens came following his premature death earlier this year. A name I had heard, but never followed up, I was moved to discover more about the man by reading 'Hitch-22', a memoir, mentioned in an obituary in a leading daily newspaper. What a revelation! A master of the art of writing; informed, articulate, controversial, readable in the extreme. Hitchens' prose is masterful. He draws you into the subject of the piece gently, but, firmly at the same time and leaves you the wiser and also very conscious of your own short comings as a writer and general user of the English language. 'Hitch-22' encouraged me to read more from Hitchens, resulting in my purchase of this anthology of essays.

'Arguably' is a big book! Crammed full of Hitchens, I am making impressive progress, simply, because I can't put it down until my arms get so tired from the shear physical effort of holding this colossal volume in a reading position. Hitch, as he was more affectionatly known, is to my mind the modern day George Orwell. His socialism and subsequent disillusionment with the system run a similar parallel to Orwell. Both masters of their art and should be held as true national gems.

I can't praise this anthology more; enjoy it, read it, get angry, feel good, perhaps even cry a little for the sad loss, at far too early an age, of probably one of the greatest essayists our nation has produced.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable.. 14 Jan 2012
By Kaveh M
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There is something for everyone in this book. It's a collection of essays by the great late Christopher Hitchens...I find myself reading one or two essays everyday (and learning a new fact about something interesting) and so far I have enjoyed every single one of them. The topics range from Harry Potter to Charles Dickens and Politics and etc. You will definitely enjoy reading this book..highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Hitchins
Enjoyable even though our views don't always agree.Great book to dip in and out of when you need a diversion
Published 17 days ago by avid reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Tour de Force
To be frank, I bought the Kindle edition just because it was cheap.
What a lucky moment!
This book is wide ranging, erudite, amusing and thought provoking. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Kevin Leeds
5.0 out of 5 stars Like wearing a virtual intelligence helmet.
Reading good writing makes you feel smarter, at least while you are reading it. It's a collection of reviews and articles from Hitchens' last ten years or so, and it's fascinating. Read more
Published 26 days ago by mr david lewis
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard to understand
found it very hard to understand what points he was trying to make. Gave up after 4 chapters,too high brow!!
Published 28 days ago by Mr Michael Mannion
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime
If you know any of the late Christopher Hitchens writing you will love this collection. Extremely informative, wildly confrontational at times but a genuine masterpiece.
Published 1 month ago by Jazzguy
4.0 out of 5 stars Diversity of Mind
I'm a big fan of the late great Hitchins and was enthralled by his anti-religious diatribe God Is Not Great. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Julian Wilde
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable tour de force
Gives a solid glimpse into the immense breadth of topics this man has written about- read and marvel. Simply Unputdownable.
Published 2 months ago by Jakub
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it. Read it. Love it.
The problem I have with the late Hitchens is that I agree with him far too readily. Though I consider myself a fan, he would likely be annoyed at me for that. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Verdicts
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchens was diverse
Hitchens wrote articles on nearly everything: Blowjobs, Mayor Bloomberg, Water boarding, Isaac Newton, Malcolm Muggeridge, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Cyprus, The Kurds to name a few. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rocketman
5.0 out of 5 stars incisive Hitchens unchained.
I would recommend this to all interested in current affairs. It is brilliantly written with characteristic wit and political in correctness.
Published 3 months ago by Jack Owen
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