67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
An invaluable perspective on New Britain,
By A Customer
This review is from: Monday Morning Blues (Paperback)
I remember a few years ago watching a TV debate on what was the best fate for Myra Hindley, and suddenly being shocked by one journalist's brazen, unapologetic attack on the "uncivilised" society that refused to hang killers. It startled and excited me to see that anyone who even vaguely shared my views was allowed on television. This man was of course Peter Hitchens, and in all his columns, this same attitude prevails: he is the supremely confident defender of all that is satirised and hated in New Britain. This compilation of his best pieces gives a refreshingly broad look at the sort of country and world we live in. From abortion to the House of Lords and from the Kosovo War to The Simpsons, the short, very readable analyses examine the sort of people we are.
Hitchens' right wing ideals are nothing like the stereotype of the Daily Telegraph letters page: "No more respect for the Queen, no wars to fight, gays on TV". Indeed, they are thoughtful and examined in a way you might expect from a former Trostkyist with an understanding of the left-wing mindset but also the passion of a convert. Along with this rather rare combination comes the writing ability of a supremely talented tabloid columnist. The first sentence of each article is crafted to be controversial, and leads into the whole piece in an excellent way designed to attract as many people as possible to reading it. For all the author's criticisms of the soundbite culture Blairite politics has fashioned, he could hardly deny his own ability to craft an opening that grabs ones interest and keeps one reading.... There is much to contradict typical conservative opinion, and equally, there are occasional pieces that would have many a socialist nodding in agreement. Each column seems calculated to have made as many people as possible uncomfortable about their beliefs. Very few could read right through the work without feeling that any of their own ideals were being challenged. Peter Hitchens is a man who could break up any coalition. His convincing way of writing made someone like me not only move much closer to his way of thinking, but also feel slightly guilty when I disagreed with him.
The bold and controversial assertions of the book would suggest arrogance to many, but I really believe they represent nothing more distainful than the honest feelings of a very decent Englishman who fears what is happening to his country and hopes for a better world. When a man of strong convictions has too much respect for the truth to varnish his feelings with appealing but misleading language, he may appear arrogant, but arrogant Hitchens is not.
Inevitably, this is a book likely to be read almost exclusively by Hitchens' fans. This is a loss to all others, as this is a gripping and thought-provoking work which deserves a much greater audience.