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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: 13.1 x 1.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 377,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am a socialist, writer, teacher and neurotic. I write regular columns for the Guardian and occasional pieces for other publications, and am the author of, most recently 'Against Austerity: How We Can Fix The Crisis They Made' (Pluto, 2014).

Previous books include 'The Liberal Defence of Murder' (Verso, 2008), 'The Meaning of David Cameron' (Zero, 2010), and 'American Insurgents', 'Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens' (Verso, 2012).

I have also contributed to 'Christopher Hitchens and his Critics', 'The Ashgate Research Companion to Political Violence', 'On Utoya: Anders Breivik, Right Terror, Islamophobia and Europe', and 'Race and Racism in International Relations: Confronting the Global Colour Line'.

I was born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland in 1977, and grew up in Protestant squalor and small town idiocy. I have lived in London since 1996, 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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19 of 29 people found the following review helpful By G. S. L. Zelent on 3 Aug 2013
Format: Paperback
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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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Iain Duffin on 23 Jan 2014
Format: Paperback
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. Seymour for a couple hours of my life. All 160 pages of his book consist, almost literally, of one man's clear frustration and annoyance that someone can change their political views after a life changing event. This idea clearly frustrates Mr. Seymour to the point where it makes him very angry.

Luckily, his assumptions, conclusions and twisting of ideas have no bearing. This is considerably well timed in that if he had voiced such statements 4 years ago, Christopher himself would have rebutted all of Mr. Seymour's misunderstandings and speculation with charm and ease. Perhaps Mr. Seymour had hoped that this book would stand up like undeniable evidence would do in that of a court, but I can tell you now that it is nothing more than a spiteful piece of slander that is not to be humored, listened to or taken seriously, only refunded.
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51 of 89 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Wentworth on 4 Feb 2013
Format: Paperback
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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40 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Mr. James R. Bloodworth on 2 Feb 2013
Format: Paperback
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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