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on 30 June 2017
A nice concise read about the monarchy by Christopher Hitchens. Not too in depth but a nice read, a quick and easy night cap.
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on 9 August 2017
Although I love Christopher Hitchens, this booked could have been more clearly written and yet also expanded. Using this book as a template I think many of us could write a book just as good, and without the need of a thesaurus.
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on 19 January 2013
I am a huge fan of Hitchens and will greedily gobble up any of his writings. This short essay does not disappoint and I suggest all who live in the U(K?) read it.
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on 15 April 2013
A very spirited and well-argued piece from a great thinker and wit. He is much missed. His unsentimental style is bracing.
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on 15 July 2012
Christopher Hitchens invites you to think about the Monarchy in Britain, or the United Kingdom - emphasis on the Kingdom - and ask yourself: do we really need it? Shouldn't we, as modern peoples, abolish it? Why do Britons define themselves with the Monarchy and why does it play such a prominent role, especially today? This is Hitchens' persuasive and interesting essay on why he believes the Monarchy should be abolished and I for one enjoyed it.

Yes, I'm a Republican (though not as Americans define the term) and have long wondered at friends and family who feel so strongly about the Queen and her family. Hitchens' essay reinforces my views but goes far deeper into exploring them than I ever have. He talks about how we rely upon invented tradition and how history is sanitised to favour the Monarchy - that the unsavoury parts are "edited" out when convenience calls (you know, the madness, the murders, the endless wars, slavery, etc.). He claims the Monarchy is a "state-sponsored superstition" that everyone in government must take part in if they are to have a career in politics. I think the BBC is party to this as well, broadcasting pro-Monarchy programmes so that vast numbers of the British population are transformed into supporters of the Queen.

I found it a brilliant read and a thoughtful, well written, and eloquent essay on our "national fetish" (excellent observation). As always Hitchens has produced a work that deserves as wide an audience as possible to provoke much needed discourse in our public sphere. The very fact that this is still a national conversation that needs to be had in the 21st century is astonishing. I'll leave this review with the ending sentences of his essay:

"A people that began to think as citizens rather than subjects might transcend underdevelopment on their own... Only servility requires the realm (suggestive word) of illusion. Illusions, of course, cannot be abolished. But they can and must be outgrown."
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on 26 May 2017
A wide-ranging and informed critique on the role of the Royal Family in the life and structure of British life. As ever, wildly entertaining and no argument goes understated; Hitchen's unique irony is a delight.
Perhaps he misses out slightly in his list of the benefits of an ineffective figurehead in an ineffective structure, and the critical role that plays in the unusual adhesion of British society. Assuming CH was aware of Orwell's argument, and I do assume that, one would have to suppose he disagreed with it, but I'm not sure it was fully disposed of here.
Hitchens' gift, though, is to stir a sentiment of moral outrage through a gradual build-up of smaller offenses and add the cherry on the cake as a QED. Hard to read and remain positive to the Windsors, but fails I think only to see how this quaint irrelevance allows us some immunity from the terrors of rival political ideologies.
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on 13 February 2013
Here, Mr Hitchens gives a concise and readable account of the monarchy, and although he inevitably reaches conclusions of his own, he also reiterates the importance, and indeed necessity, of thinking for oneself. When tackling a subject as problematic as it is subjective, Hitchens manages to mix the personal with the objective to give a biting, scathing and ultimately provoking argument against the monarchy in Britain. Yet another reason, if one were needed, why Christopher will be missed for many generations to come.
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on 7 September 2017
I sit on the fence in terms of the monarchy but having read this I'm inclined to drop on the side of the Royal Family.

Starting with the most expensive public schools and working down, the irony of this book is that it's written in a language that is only likely to touch the top tiniest percentage of anyone educated in a state school.

Sentences so long and poorly constructed that you have to read them several times to get the meaning, and words that are as obsolete as the system the author is trying to critique.

The bitterness of the author is the clearest thing about this book. It's a vehicle for his poison and a prop for his own ego.

Off with his head, I say! Not a very credible read
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on 22 July 2017
Great. Such a refreshing change to the sycophantic media who put these people on a pedestal with all their hangers on because an accident of birth? Bring on the republic!
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on 29 May 2013
Tried hard to see this from an outsiders point of view but it's difficult when you are actually living in Britain 2013, and I got the feeling that Christopher Hitchins was somewhat out of touch...fetish? Mmn not how most of us see it I don't think anymore than a president who is treated like God in the country where he chose to live (America ) a bit disappointing as I had expected him to look at it from a different perspective.
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