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Arguably: Selected Essays [Paperback]

Christopher Hitchens
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sep 2011
Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was a matchless writer, debater and humanist. Throughout his life he shone the light of reason and truth into the eyes of charlatans and hucksters, exposing falsehood and decrying hypocrisy wherever he found it. With his passing, the world has lost a great soul, the written word one of its finest advocates and those who stand for freedom everywhere have lost one of their clearest voices.

Arguably collects Hitchens' writing on politics, literature and religion when he was at the zenith of his career; it is the indispensible companion to the finest English essayist since Orwell.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455504092
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455504091
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.2 x 6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 354,917 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

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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a columnist for Slate. He was the author of numerous books, including works on Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, George Orwell, Mother Teresa, Henry Kissinger and Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as his international bestseller and National Book Award nominee, god Is Not Great. His memoir, Hitch-22, which was a Sunday Times bestseller, was nominated for the Orwell Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His last book, Mortality, was published in 2012 by Atlantic Books. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inarguably Good 25 Sep 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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86 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight 1 Jan 2012
Format:Hardcover
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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4 of 4 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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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tome to dip into 10 Dec 2011
Format:Paperback
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
Love or hate of despise...you couldn't ignore Mr Hitchens, and it seems we should have listened a lot more than we did...gone but still bring proved right
Published 7 days ago by Neil S. Reddy
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
Always so acute. Brilliant.
Published 23 days ago by MR
5.0 out of 5 stars Massively articulate and interesting
Unbelievable. What a range of interest, education, knowledge - what a loss to the intellectual world Mr Hitchens was, taken too soon in life. Over 700 pages of fascinating stuff. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. G. Lawrence
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing as always
I came to Hitchens' writing late. I was always put off by his public persona. However his writing belies that abrasive public image. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ian Bertram
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Collection!
It is strange to reflect that Christopher Hitchens died in late 2011; somehow the date just doesn’t seem right. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Andrew Mottram
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking collection of essays and articles
This isn't a read all in one sitting collection. The articles give us Hitchen's views on a diverse range of topics in his usual uncompromising style. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mel Powell
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 4 months 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 5 months 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 5 months 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 5 months ago by Mr Michael Mannion
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