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Customer Review

2 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dubious in the extreme, 2 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Arguably (Hardcover)
If the quality of the comments on André Malraux are anything to go by, this is a very unreliable book. There are certain writers who, for reasons best known to themselves, harbour a bizarre grudge against Malraux and spit out a stream of vitriol whenever his name is mentioned. Invariably, their comments are ill-researched, heavily reliant on second-hand sources, simplistic, and often just plain silly. Serious students of Malraux's life and works recognize them immediately for what they are. Hitchens' comments on Malraux are squarely in this tradition.

I sometimes wonder if this kind of thing springs basically from jealousy. How could this man have written so much, and so well, have taken part in so many of the important historical events of his times (and not just chatted away in a Left bank cafe) and even been Minister for Culture in France for several years. Must be a charlatan. Sure that's it! He's just a charlatan!

Fortunately, uniformed commentary of this kind seems to be less common these days. Hitchens' dubious distinction is to have given it new life.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Nov 2012, 15:13:09 GMT
Grr (tiger) says:
To judge the book solely on the basis of one essay of many is itself not only unreliable, but also bizarre. In fact Hitchen's review of Olivier Todd's biography is not nearly as derogatory of Malraux as you claim, and suggests an unreasonable level of hero worship on your part. The main charge that Malraux was a fantasist is hardly vitriol and it would have been more helpful if you had refuted some of the evidence given for it. I'm afraid writing "so much" and "even been Minister for Culture in France" doesn't really cut it. Writing "so well" is getting there, but very subjective, and not actually denied in the essay.
As for people being jealous of Malraux; that's a little petty, don't you think?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2013, 00:14:06 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Jan 2013, 00:15:12 GMT
monteverdi says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2013, 11:07:24 GMT
Grr (tiger) says:
"... intelligent readers with inquiring minds deserve better treatment." Really? So they are not better able to judge for themselves? And those who are only interested in the one subject, are entitled to review a book on the basis of "IF".

Posted on 31 Jul 2013, 07:52:43 BST
One of life's guilty pleasures is to go to the 1 star reviews of anything written by Chris Hitchens. Hours can be spent falling off ones chair laughing at the rants, marvelling at the energy of hate, searching for subtle irony or launching oneself onto and into Wikipedia. But for Monteverdi I had not have heard of Andre Malraux (not yet arrived as I dip in and out of Arguably) and for this I wring my hands in confused apologia. However, in Wiki I read that Malraux once said "The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between this profusion of matter and the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness." Pure Pseuds Corner. Either way these 1 star reviews are a hoot......must be a charlatan..........Excuse me, but as far as I am aware CH was never part of the Hacienda scene in Manchester and I happen to know he detested Tony whatisname.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jan 2014, 00:38:38 GMT
monteverdi says:
I don't think you read my comment carefully enough. The "charlatan" bit was a reference to the kind of reasoning some ill-informed writers fall back on when commenting on Malraux, i.e.: "How could he have done so much? Must be a charlatan." Whether Hitchens himself was a charlatan was not the issue. (Though if pressed, I would tend to say he was.)

But since your knowledge of Malraux (one of France's leading 20th century writers by the way) is limited to an isolated quote in Wikipedia, there's not much point in commenting further. Suffice it to say that no serious student of Malraux's works would waste much time on Hitchens' essay.

Posted on 21 Jun 2016, 18:42:09 BST
This is how a child would react; seriously, he didn't like someone you do, get over yourself....

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Jun 2016, 02:07:43 BST
Last edited by the author on 22 Jun 2016, 02:17:47 BST
monteverdi says:
I don't think you read my posts with care. It was the quality of comments such as Hitchens' I was highlighting. I described them as "ill-researched, heavily reliant on second-hand sources, simplistic, and often just plain silly" adding that "Serious students of Malraux's life and works recognize them immediately for what they are." Perhaps, though, you feel you know enough about the subject to demonstrate that this view is wrong?
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