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Hitch 22: A Memoir [Paperback]

Christopher Hitchens
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Dec 2010
In this long-awaited and candid memoir, Hitchens re-traces the footsteps of his life to date, from his childhood in Portsmouth, with his adoring, tragic mother and reserved Naval officer father; to his life in Washington DC, the base from which from he would launch fierce attacks on tyranny of all kinds.

Along the way, he recalls the girls, boys and booze; the friendships and the feuds; the grand struggles and lost causes; and the mistakes and misgivings that have characterised his life.

Hitch-22 is, by turns, moving and funny, charming and infuriating, enraging and inspiring. It is an indispensable companion to the life and thought of our pre-eminent political writer.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (4 Dec 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843549220
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843549222
  • Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,589 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


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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
153 of 160 people found the following review helpful
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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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something approaching awe 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a long journey towards the light 12 Oct 2011
This series of studies meets the requirements of a credible memoir and is far more than simply an entertaining review of his life and experiences. There's more to it than that. It's more a journey of the soul. Maybe he doesn't realise it but his body of work to date as presented in this book says a great deal more about the truth of the man than any of his penetrating insights and provocations accompanying the issues he's attended to over the years.

The first half of his account demonstrates a troubled passage from adolescent anger and frustration driving his need to take on global causes and perceived perpetrators of wrongdoing under the badge of international socialism. This requires a deal of patience from the reader. He seems to want to get it all out at a frenetic pace so it takes a lot of concentration to keep up with his rather disordered deviations by way of, thoughts and memories scattered across the page, subjects started that are dropped or merged into tangential references, nuances, quotations,etc. Quite typical of an academic in full flow,one thought fusing into another, perhaps saying too much in no particular order and giving away sentiments that question his attitude as arrogant, egotistical, immature, and very much up his own rear end. His choice of friends and their puerile word games do him no favours.

However, I found the second half of Hitch a fantastic read especially his take on America, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, and his moving account of the Jewish("Finkler") question. Once he'd discovered his true identity and genetic origins a light seems to flicker through that energises his perspective. This jolt seems to transform his narrow political sparring into a higher level of discernment. Issues are scanned with a greater intensity and sensory absorption.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Read It
I've been racing through this, one of the best memoirs I've ever read. The man is pure gold and the kind of intellectual who is as entertaining as he is intelligent. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Jay Serving
5.0 out of 5 stars one of his best works...
I am a huge Hitch fan, and recommend these memoirs, wholeheartedly. This book really brings out the writer in the man. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jon Gibson Mcgill
5.0 out of 5 stars Important
I sat on this for two years before finally reading it. It's not an easy read, and I didn't agree, or like, everything in it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Davey
4.0 out of 5 stars A life well lived.
A fascinating insight into the life of a great man, who is sadly missed. If you want to know more about the man behind the ideas, buy this book.
Published 2 months ago by Barry Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read in ages
Though I don't share Mr Hitchens' political views at all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is very well written, full of wonderful anecdotes and is engagingly revealing about the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. Russell Newton
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing
What a wordsmith! Brilliantly engaging read. Damned annoyed that Hitchens has passed on. Sadly, I got on to him far too late.
Published 2 months ago by Bill clapperton
3.0 out of 5 stars Life of a priviledged Oxford boy who knew many famous writers and...
This is a very long memoir, written in a sophisticated, dense style, at times annoying to decipher. However, it is also occasionally funny and interesting, because it covers a lot... Read more
Published 3 months ago by D. Giusti
4.0 out of 5 stars Appears to be a very honest account about his life.
Extremely Knowledgable, well educated journalist.He seems to understand the root causes of many of the worlds conflicts.He has strong opinions and so is a controversial author.
Published 3 months ago by handyman
5.0 out of 5 stars Brain Waker
If this book doesn't wake you up to what is really going on then they should switch off your life support system
I thought I knew a lot about world politics but his ability to... Read more
Published 3 months ago by W. Mclean
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitch 22
A fantastic and poetical story of a modern genius, whose views and opinions deserve to be heard, and on hearing, will naturally be praised. R.I.P
Published 4 months ago by Jack Spooner
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