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Hitch 22: A Memoir Hardcover – 20 May 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (20 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843549212
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843549215
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 4.2 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 251,572 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

Christopher Hitchens is one of the great conversationalists of our age and his wit, style and erudition are brilliantly deployed in this glittering autobiography. Hitch-22 sparkles with funny stories, treasurable quotations, witty apercus and deft descriptions. --Sunday Times

A pert yet elegantly written memoir. --Sunday Telegraph

A fascinating account of the influences - political, cultural and philosophical - on Hitchens's intellectual development... A funny, sad, incisive, and serious narrative... He is our son and one of our most gifted writers. We should take pride in that and be busting our guts to get him back. --Spectator

About the Author

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and Visiting Professor in liberal studies at the New School in New York. He was 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 the international bestseller and National Book Award nominee, god Is Not Great.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

156 of 163 people found the following review helpful By RepublicanStones on 11 Aug 2010
Format: Hardcover
I chose this book as my holiday read. And what a good choice it was too. Hitchens is a man who usually polarizes people into one of two camps - you either love him or hate him. I try not to engage in such ideological flag waving, suffice to say, I would consider myself to be one of those who he seems to have left on 'the left' ....so to speak. His memoir takes us through his early years, with chapters devoted to his father and mother ( who i hadn't realised met with such a grizzly end). He treats us to his stint at Oxford, his experiences of the sixties, there are chapters devoted to other great loves in his life such as James Fenton, Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and needless to say Edward Said.
Hitch elucidates upon how he first had misgivings about his ultra-socialist leanings, and he provides us with insight as to his dismay at the tendency of some 'comrades' to ignore the rather brutal underpinnings of the spread of the socialist revolution, and how the obvious warts were seen as beauty spots by 'the party faithful'. He has a chapter on his burgeoning love affair with all things American, which is a little rose tinted it has to be said. He seems to refuse point blank to consider that any behaviour of the USA might, in part, explain the attacks of 9/11, which for a man who easy fillets others for such naivety, is quite surprising. His chapter on Edward Said angered me a little, as the late great professor is no longer with us to defend himself to the charges Hitch lays at his door. But it is his memoir, so his rules. His attempt to defend his seeming volte face to the right, reads like the worlds longest excuse. He portrays it as if he was able to find that which Hans Blix wasn't and he refers to being a conscious part of history making as quite an 'intoxicating feeling'.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Troy Parfitt on 6 April 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
While sending out review copies for my book about China, I warned readers they might find its content polemical, controversial, "politically incorrect," etc. Two reviewers replied `not to worry,' - they liked oppositionist perspectives and were admirers of Christopher Hitchens. I thought, `Christopher who?' Incredibly, I didn't know who Hitchens was (in 2011, no less), though I knew of his book God is Not Great, which didn't appeal to me because, pompously perhaps, I reckoned I didn't need to read an argument I already supported and a conclusion I had already arrived at. Like many, I familiarized myself with Mr. Hitchens through Youtube and found myself learning heaps about politics and history and more than I expected to about religion (I had never thought of religion as the original tyranny, for example). And then I chanced upon a copy of his memoir.

Hitch-22 is the best memoir I've ever read. Better than any biography, too. From a startling account about his mother's suicide to a Socratic declaration of how little he knows (the spur which kept him learning and reflecting on his positions and beliefs), Hitchens's crisp, articulate prose courses through 400 pages, drawing you in, propelling you on, causing you to reflect, and urging you to learn more about the many subjects, historical events, themes, and memes he scrutinizes and dissects. It also sends you to the dictionary, a healthy exercise, surely.

And it's not a conventional memoir. Apart from the section pertaining to his youth, there is little straightforward or chronological autobiography, and there is limited mention of things there should be: his wife and children, for instance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nick Lincoln on 24 Jun 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author died in 2011; having never really heard of him before his demise (and make of this what you will) I am not an automatic "fan-boy". And there can be no doubt that Christopher Hitchens drew fans to him like flames to that cliche he would have despised.

He packed an awful lot into his life. Much of it was a wasted, trivial effort, especially early on. But he recalls his life on the edge of "the Left" with good humour and verve. Crisp prose, pacy and not too much "look at me" stuff.

However he was also capable of looking at both sides of an argument and feeling he could pick either - and win: He lacked a binding narrative and perhaps, to some,that was his appeal. But a mid-life lurch from "the Left" to the right is - although predictable and understandable - not a particularly riveting story.

Mea culpa: a fair bit of this tome talks about James Fenton and Edward Said. My ignorance is bottomless: I had never heard of these two before reading this book. Having read it, I do not feel compelled to find out more. Does that say more about me than the source material?

A good writer, somewhat self-obsessed, cosseted in maturity by other scribes and also those who were - especially early on in his adult life - spectacularly wrong about pretty much everything. Representative? No. An everyman voice? No, definitely not. Which is probably the send off he would want.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Sullivan on 26 Sep 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a memoir first published in 2010. My copy is the 2011 edition that includes a forward by Hitchens having earlier that same year been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. He died in December 2011.
Christopher Hitchens was an author, journalist, essayist, pamphleteer and superb orator. His debating skills, honed at Oxford, were sharp, insightful and could leave his opponent feeling like they had undergone ten rounds with Cassius Clay.
To my utter shame I didn't start taking an interest in Christopher Hitchens and his writings until around 2005. My introduction to Hitchens was through my love of the works of George Orwell. I stumbled upon Christopher Hitchens biographical essay `Orwell's Victory ', (known as `Why Orwell Matters' in the USA), in a second hand bookshop. Not only was `Orwell's Victory' a superb piece of literature and a cracking read but it had the effect of wanting to know more about Mr. Hitchens.
Hitch 22 details his relationship with his parents, loving, beautiful but distant mother and uncommunicative, stoic but heroic father. Names are dropped within the book like so many autumn leaves; Salman Rushdie, James Fenton, Richard Dawkins, Martin Amis etc etc. But, this is not an attempt by Christopher Hitchens to show off or communicate to the outside world about his highly influential friends. Each name is `dropped' to illustrate a point or to help frame a chapter and give it context.
There have been many superlatives used to describe Christopher Hitchens, erudite, witty, passionate and rhetorically astute. It is not only hard to think of new ones but it is difficult to disagree with any of them.
Hitch 22 is 422 pages of the English language in perfect harmony. His writing style is the language equivalent of the Taj Mahal or the Potala Palace in Tibet: beautifully constructed with no superfluous building materials.
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