Top positive review
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This is not a perfect book, but it's pretty damn good (if only for its ability to annoy the hell out of the Hitchens cult)
on 9 December 2015
I've read this book about three times now and every time I come back to its Amazon page, I am so pleased to see how pissed off every Hitchens fanboy continues to be simply by the continued existence of this book. It is a damning piece of work and incredibly enjoyable to read.
Though this is not to say it does not have its problems. Along with many of the reviewers here whose prose is mostly denegrated by faux-outrage, some of Seymour's assertions can be a little below the cuff, unsubstantiated or downright mean. One example that I can think of (but not the page number) is when Seymour asserts that Hitchens frequently indulged in rape jokes - and as someone who has read nearly all of Hitchens' work, I've yet to come across that kind of remark. But this is all part of the knock-out suplex, employed by Seymour in dazzling style that sometimes strays into the verbose - though this rarely impinges on clarity.
Anyway, onto the positives. Seymour has a great eye for detail. A lot of his arguments are sincerely backed up by judicious fact, linear, easy-to-follow logic, and a hatred for the kind of turncoat politics Hitchens eventually succumbed to; the kind of politics that saw him turn his back on the nobility of the socialist endeavour, and in naive favour of an American empire whose downfall is not only imminent but necessary. Though this is not to say Seymour completely does away with Hitchens as a worthy subject. There are plenty of occasions when Seymour allows his old admiration of Hitchens to shine through, particularly preceding 2001. It's clear Seymour is a part of the Left who was saddened and disappointed by the brainrot that eventually descended upon Hitchens, the kind of brainrot he was known to eviscerate in one single, mine-laden sentence. I was particularly engrossed in the Theophobia chapter when Seymour discusses Hitchens' militant atheism as a defence for his own Iraq advocation: "I would have gotten a way with it too if it weren't for pesky religion... blah blah blah."
This book is essential to any reader who takes Christopher Hitchens seriously and is serious about understanding a man who was deeply flawed and wrong on a lot of things. Although many of his Marxist tenets remained unchanged, Hitchens gave in his socialist, humanitarian cowl for a blood-soaked American flag. Seymour understands this and wastes no time in doing away with the imperial man of letters. Although I would like to see Seymour write an essay or follow up book discussing what he admires or admired about Hitchens, I don't think it's likely.
And as for the Hitchens cult who have attacked this book on every review site I can see, your attempts are laughable and your unheaded frothing at the mouth over this Necon is vapidly ahistorical and politically opportunistic. Although Hitchens made the best case for the Iraq invasion this is not a high standard. His arresting war-mongering lead to the acknowledged death of one American boy and probably tens if not hundreds more. I agree with James Wood that consistency is for cooking but there's no doubt in my mind that Hitchens is guilty of every political sin as accused by Seymour.
(If you wish to read the kind of review the Hitchens cult would fawn over, read George Eaton's obtuse and stupid review in the New Statesman.)