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Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens (Counterblasts) [Paperback]

Richard Seymour
2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 Jan 2013 Counterblasts
Among the ranks of the ex-Leftists, most of whom are readily forgotten, Christopher Hitchens stands out as someone determined to do just that. Rejecting the well-worn paths of hard-right evangelism and capitalist 'realism,' he identified with nothing outside his own idiosyncrasies. A habitual mugwump who occasionally masqueraded as a Marxist, the role he adopted late in his career - as a free radical within the US establishment - had ample precedents from his earlier incarnation. It wasn't the Damascene conversion he described. His long-standing admiration for America, his fascination with the Right as the truly 'revolutionary' force, his closet Thatcherism, his theophobia and disdain for the actually existing Left had all been present in different ways throughout his political life. Post - 9/11, they merely found a new articulation. For all that, the Hitchensian idiolect was a unique, marketable formula. He is a recognizable historical type - the apostate leftist - and as such presents a rewarding, entertaining and an enlightening case study.

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Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens (Counterblasts) + The Liberal Defence of Murder + The Meaning of David Cameron
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books (28 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184467990X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844679904
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.1 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 98,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm an author, activist and owner of the blog Lenin's Tomb. The author of The 'Liberal Defence of Murder', 'The Meaning of David Cameron', and 'American Insurgents' (upcoming), I have also contributed to 'Christopher Hitchens and his Critics', 'The Ashgate Research Companion to Political Violence' (upcoming) and 'On Utoya: Anders Breivik, Right Terror, Islamophobia and Europe' (upcoming). I was born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland in 1977, but have lived in London for fifteen years. I am a member of the Socialist Workers Party, and am currently researching a PhD in sociology at the London School of Economics.

Product Description


Praise for The Liberal Defence of Murder: A great deal of damning material on the apologists of recent illegalities. --Philippe Sands, Guardian

Praise for The Liberal Defence of Murder: Richard Seymour expertly traces their descent from humanitarian intervention to blatant islamophobia. --Gary Younge

Praise for The Liberal Defence of Murder: A powerful counterblast against the monstrous regiment of 'useful idiots.' --The Times

About the Author

RICHARD SEYMOUR lives, works and writes in London. He runs the Lenin's Tomb website, which comments on the War on Terror, Islamophobia and neoliberalism. He is the author of The Meaning of David Cameron and American Insurgents: A Brief History of American Anti-Imperialism.

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Customer Reviews

2.1 out of 5 stars
2.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I haven't yet read it but..... 10 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If it riles people enough to get all these supercillious pseudo intellectual trolls writing Amazon reviews like these I am sure I am going to love it. And it's three quid off.
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47 of 84 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hitchens was left to the end 4 Feb 2013
Richard Seymour's problem with Christopher Hitchens (so he says) is that, in the latter years of his life, The Hitch abandoned the left in favour of the right. No more is this better illustrated, according to Seymour, than Hitchens' pro-Iraq war stance (a move Seymour claims Hitchens made to be `on the right side of history' and one that exposed his latent neo-conservative beliefs). This couldn't be further from the truth. What Hitchens did in later life was redefine the struggle of the left as one that included all forms of totalitarianism. Indeed, Hitchens saw al Qaeda as a new strain of totalitarianism - `Islamo-facsism' he called it. In his essay, titled `The Enemy', he writes that al Qaeda:

"...explicitly calls for the establishment of a totalitarian system, in which an absolutist code of primitive laws - most of them prohibitions - is enforced by a cruel and immutable authority, and by medieval methods of punishment. In this system, the private life and the autonomous individual have no existence. That this authority is theocratic or, in other words, involves the deification and sanctification of human control by humans makes it more tyrannical."

Nowhere is there a better description of the central aim of al Qaeda, that is to say the founding of a 7th century style Islamic Caliphate by any murderous means. Indeed, this was the undisguised and promoted goal of Osama bin Laden. As a man of the left it was abhorrent to Hitchens that simple freedoms, the kind hard-one by the French and Russian peasantry, the suffrage, and the civil rights movement, could be attacked by a monotheist cult which hates everything which does not conform to its very narrow view of what the world should be.
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39 of 70 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Show Trial of Christopher Hitchens 2 Feb 2013
As an admirer of the late Christopher Hitchens I was probably never going to like this book but, all the same, I tried to read it with an open mind.

I shouldn't have bothered in all honesty, for this is a poorly-done hatchet job written by an oddball with a huge chip on his shoulder about one of the finest polemicists England has ever produced.

The book does little more than use long and silly words to rehearse the same tired cliches about Hitchens turning into a "Neo-con" and an "islamophobe" with no appraisal of the changing world after 9/11.

As it happens, like the author I also believe that Hitchens was wrong about the war in Iraq; I just don't believe he was as wrong as people like Seymour and the leaders of the Stop the War Coalition, who threw their support behind the woman-haters of Hamas and the thuggish Iraqi "resistance" while it murdered socialists and trade unionists.

The book's outcome was never in any doubt of course, for Richard Seymour and his depraved crew the "Socialist Workers' Party" (the latest cult to become embroiled in a rape scandal) views Islamic fascism as a new revolutionary force which anti-capitalists can climb on the back of to defeat the evil US "imperialists" (that word comes up A LOT, by the way).

I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise to find those who Hitchens exposed as sympathisers of totalitarianism and bigotry continuing to hate the man with such intensity after he has died.
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An embittered and unsubstantial diatribe 3 Aug 2013
The first thing to note about this book is that despite its meagre length it contains so many inaccuracies, non sequiturs, gross simplifications and syllogistic blunders that any review could comfortably exceed the length of the actual book simply by addressing them. Therefore for the convenience of all i will limit myself to addressing only a few short examples of Mr. Seymour's false logic and gross misrepresentation.

The book opens with the rather cloying dedication: `To Marie, whose hatred is pure. With all my love.' And things - quite unbelievably - only go downhill from there. But in fact, this dedication could aptly describe Seymour's view of Hitchens: pure hatred. Throughout the book Seymour is not content in merely excoriating Hitchens' political views, he is also determined to smear his character in every way imaginable. This book contains a number of nasty and invidious accusations and attacks on Hitchens's personal character, all supported by no more than a few off-hand anecdotes combined with the single-mindedness of Seymour to declare Hitchens a complete scumbag in all areas of life, to grant him no redeeming features, and to vilify him as some sort conniving trick-artist who weaselled his way to the top.

For example: he apparently `enjoyed abusing social inferiors - his habit of being rude to waiters, perhaps in emulation of the journalist Pappenhacker in Evelyn Waugh's Scoop' - When checked, it becomes obvious that this is a groundless accusation, made with one flimsy citation to a Martin Amis article. In fact, Martin Amis himself had said that Hitchens was just as likely to insult a King as a waiter, and that he judged people purely on their merit - he had not time or respect for social standing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Deluded Nonsense
It intrigued me that such a book could actually be written and be considered even slightly credible. With this interest in mind, I thought I would at least indulge Mr. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Iain Duffin
1.0 out of 5 stars To speak ill of the dead
Pathetic and cowardly that this would be written posthumously.
Ironic that speaking ill of the dead goes largely against Christian societal values. Read more
Published 4 months ago by JonnyW
1.0 out of 5 stars Baby Steps
I can only take from this book that at some point during Hitchens time as a socialist, he slept with Richard Seymour's partner at the time. Read more
Published 4 months ago by P.Spencer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and timely
The reviews of this book really do confirm how necessary it is.
Hitchens was a man who liked to be known as an iconoclast, it is a pity his fans can't see past their religious... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ashley
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the one star reviews
This book does exactly what Hitchens claimed to have done in books such as The Trial of Henry Kissinger and The Missionary Position-- it tears down the reputation of a person many... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr. Ryan Wilson
1.0 out of 5 stars Only wasted time
At least I wasted only time when I borrowed rather than purchased this poor excuse for a book. A badly written hatchet job that attempts . . . . Read more
Published 9 months ago by Slowhand
1.0 out of 5 stars Appalling
Poorly written and argued; cynical and unconvincing at best, defamatory and misrepresentative at worst. Read more
Published 11 months ago by David Naggie
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful account of a 'shining wit'
This little book is a useful exposé of the late Christopher Hitchens. The author has found a lot of material, evidence that Hitchens was what Dr Spooner would have called a... Read more
Published 12 months ago by William Podmore
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor grammar.
I proceeded no further than the opening sentence in the description of this... book.

"Among the ranks of the ex-Leftists, most of whom are readily forgotten,... Read more
Published 12 months ago by flamenco
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly constructed nonsense
I'm very annoyed that I wasted money on this book. It was terribly poorly written, self-contradictory, and ill thought through. Read more
Published 13 months ago by J. P. Ryan
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