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Arguably Hardcover – 1 Oct 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (1 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085789255X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857892553
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 6.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 263,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Whether on the invasion of Iraq or the merits of Vladimir Nabokov's fiction, master controversialist Hitchens has an informed opinion. . . . Vintage Hitchens. Argumentative and sometimes just barely civil -- another worthy collection from this most inquiring of inquirers." -- "Kirkus Reviews" (starred)"These 750 pages of bright, witty, nearly always charged reportage and argument are business as usual for one of the most lucid and humane voices of our age. . . . Purposeful and well told. . . . Here are more than 700 pages of a life lived fully through meaningful work." -- Charles Foran, "Globe and Mail"

About the Author

Christopher Hitchens is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and Visiting Professor in liberal studies at the New School in New York. He is 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 his international bestseller and National Book Award nominee, god Is Not Great.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Christopher Hitchens had a mind which is sorely missed. Whether you agreed with what he was saying, or were on the other side of the issue, one had to respect and respond to what Hitchens had to say on the subject. "Arguably" is a collection of his essays (107 in all) put into six sections of the book, and which cover a wide variety of subjects. There are certainly a few here which are not going to be considered controversial, but the vast majority are Hitchens as he usually was, strongly opinionated on controversial subjects, and always with a significant stack of facts to back his positions; positions which he was not afraid to voice in the bluntest terms. In other words, this is Hitchens at his best (when you agree with him), and at his most difficult (when you don't).

This collection was published originally in September of 2011, with Hitchens writing a brief introduction in late June as he was suffering from oesophageal cancer from which he would pass away six months later at the all too young age of 62. The essays had been published over the course of years in a variety of publications. The subjects dealt with cover a wide range, from religion and politics, to why women aren't funny, and everything in between. The material ranges from columns, to book reviews, to book introductions.

Hitchens was one of the few members of the media who had actually visited the "axis of evil", along with many other places, and this most certainly contributed to his insights on many subjects. Hitchens was not the least bit tentative to express his opinion, but unlike other talking-heads, Hitchens was able to do it and still be credible on a subject.
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Format: Kindle Edition
It is strange to reflect that Christopher Hitchens died in late 2011; somehow the date just doesn’t seem right. This volume, however, which is his penultimate collection of essays (the final one being ‘Mortality’, the content of which was written as he was undergoing treatment for oesophageal cancer), does help to explain why it doesn’t seem so long ago. In every one of the articles anthologised here, Hitchens lives up to the advice he was once given as a much younger man and journalist: on being informed by an editor that his work was well argued but dull, he was told to write the way he spoke. And so he did, and all his wit, erudition and passion found its way onto the page, with the result that to read this book is to experience a sense of extraordinary freshness.
This passion is directed in various directions, but the titles of the sections or chapters provide clues: ‘All American’, ‘Eclectic Affinities’, ‘Amusements, Annoyances and Disappointments’, ‘Offshore Accounts’, ‘Legacies of Totalitarianism’, and ‘Words’ Worth’. The first covers subjects such as the Founding Fathers, American literary classics, and the idea of the ‘Washington Novel’, and leads perfectly onto the second section, which is all about writers and their life and work. The diversity and sheer range is clear: across these first two chapters, Twain leads to Nabokov to Jessica Mitford to P.G. Wodehouse to J.K. Rowling, with many more in between, and in every discussion, considerations of literature and politics are blended in a breathtakingly informative, readable and often very amusing way.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a Christmas gift I was not expecting. This book has proved a major distraction this Christmas break (I am supposed to be marking a heap of undergraduate assignments). I have much sympathy with Hitchens' concern over the dangers of religion but without necessarily swallowing his final conclusions. He seems to me to be an atheist with much integrity, as well as being a very informed one.

This is book to be dipped into and relished. The subjects included are diverse; There is a brilliant article on Dr Johnson that reignited my enthusiasm for the doctor, as well as some brilliant and erudite articles on American politics and literature (the one on Saul Bellow is especially poignant). Hitchens' writing style grabs your attention; this is a book that is hard to put down. His recent death (which still happened to come as a bit of a shock) is going to prove a tremendous loss to the world of letters.
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Format: Paperback
Hitchens is scintillating and irreverent in this massive volume (750 pages) which is arranged in the following sections:

All American
Writings about the founders of the Republic and Washington (the city). Hitchens, I believe, became a naturalized American but it still jarred to hear this Englishman talk about "our founding fathers". Hitch, your founding father was from Middle England or thereabouts.

Eclectic Affinities
The best part of the book for me. Hitch reviews books and authors (Wodehouse, Burke, Waugh, Greene, Saki, Spender, Orwell, Marx, Powell etc) and references so many others that you realise with dismay just how well read he was. This was the part where my debit card suffered and my local bookshops rejoiced.

Amusements
This and that

Offshore Accounts
Politics. The one about visiting Iran is very revealing. The popular Western newspaper images are not all what happens inside Iran. Some of the essays I remember from Vanity Fair, the magazine for which they were written.

Totalitarianism
You can see Hitch's leftist background here and appreciate the incredible intellectual force and moral suasion of the Left in days gone by (and Arguably just as relevant in today's world of bailed out bankers and non-tax paying billionaires). Loved the essays on Victor Serge (whose "The Case Of Comrade Tulayev" I well recommend) and on Koestler ("Darkness At Noon" - brilliant) and ... well all the others really.

Words Worth
Sundry stuff including one on the shame of the West in not standing up for Denmark when that country was under attack from the religious terrorists of the you know which religion; the one whose name can't be mentioned in the same breath as the word "fatwa".
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