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Hitch 22: A Memoir [Paperback]

Christopher Hitchens
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 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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Hitch 22: A Memoir + God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything + The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer
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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 (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,770 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
154 of 161 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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43 of 45 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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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obligatory read... 8 July 2010
My copy arrived on that same day that the news of his latest battle with malevolent authority was revealed, he will face it, I know, with the same courage he has always exhibited, at the risk of sounding quasi-religious it goes without saying that I wish him well, for purely selfish reasons, his writing warms my heart and brings some order to my cluttered mind.
The book itself is neither really a complete memoir or a political tome, it is however beautifully composed, as you'd expect from the finest living polemic wordsmith in the English speaking world, by his standard it's almost light-hearted in places, there are many wonderful passages of kindness, friendship and affection. His comes across as fiercely loyal to his old friends, not to say very proud of them. Evidently, he still retains that naughtiness beloved of men behind closed doors amongst chums, you can almost hear him tell the bawdiest yarn, for the sole purpose of making you pistol your drink through your nostrils. It is, as if he were over a very fine summers day, recalling the moments in his life, that he thinks we might want him to recall, on his terms though, he has, in a life that has attracted as much scorn as veneration, somehow, managed to keep his personal life beyond prying eyes.
Very wisely, he steers clear of any revelation regarding his marriage(s) or says much about his children, this is such a welcome change from books of this nature, some people will of course jump on this as weakness, or what clever folks like to term a lacuna, but I think not. One of the many grand aspects of any Hitchens book or indeed essay, is the likelihood of his readers picking up on other authors that he quotes so readily, that perhaps one has not read much, if at all, in a few beautiful lines in context, he sells the concept of other books well worth reading. Mr Hitchens, like all great writers, Mr Hitchens is clearly a great reader too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master
A master I have all of his collected essays and they are so brilliant and energetic you can read them over and over again and this book just adds to my estimation of a great but... Read more
Published 9 days ago by keith
3.0 out of 5 stars He could certainly write
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". Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nick Lincoln
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hitch in Time
The audiobook is a sad reminder of what a voice, and what an actual voice, we have lost. I approached it with some trepidation as his reviews and essays are among his best writing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by barbicandy
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Frank and Emotional Memoir
From the start, Hitchens is frank and eloquent in his narrative about his own life, from childhood to family tragedy, from revolutionary fervour to a different blend of radicalism. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Craig Rimmer
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly written book
A brilliantly written autobiographical work by a great and complex man. Glad he wrote this before he died. Hitchens never wrote a bad book.
Published 2 months ago by teatime
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 4 months 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 6 months ago by Mr. Russell Newton
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