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Hitch-22: A Memoir [Hardcover]

Christopher Hitchens
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant writer shares his memoirs July 21 2010
This is kind of a response to the rather rebarbative and fatuous review by R.I. Dacre. Hitch 22 is a very interesting, brilliantly written and seemingly honest memoir of Christopher HItchens, a British intellectual, journalist, debater and of course Author amongst other things. For any rational minded human being concerned about our future his previous book, God is not Great ' How religion poisons everything, is essential.
One of the many admirable traits of Mr. Hitchens is that he is, if anything, mostly very noble about those who disagree with him, even if in some cases they can be quite nasty about him in their opposition. As for those for whom he is particularly scathing about, I would opine that they deserve it (Jerry Falwell springs to mind).
I always find his talks, his articles, his books and now this book, an enormously educational experience. I would say that even when you do not agree with his standpoint, his case for his point of view is meticulously laid out, researched and backed up with fact and/or empirical evidence. It's a greatly admirable trait as a writer to be able to be able to pull this off with such élan.
Hitch 22 covers many areas of his life and my only criticism is that I wish that the book could have been longer. The stories vary from making you want to laugh out loud in places to feelings of fury at the horrors that Hitchens has witnessed or wrote about in his career.
He writes about how youthful exuberance may have cast a pall of glamour over situations and people he now sees in a different light, something the previous reviewer certainly failed to grasp or understand, Hitchens explains it best when he quotes John Maynard Keyne's "When the facts change then my opinion changes, and you sir?
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Uncertain Moral Compass Sept. 20 2010
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
I have a deep regard for the forceful way in which Hitchens often makes his arguments, even though I may not always agree with their substance. That is probably due in large respect to the Voltairian streak in me that allows me to tolerate though not always accept the views of my fellow humans. Hitchens's autobiography is an expose of who he is as an intellectual fighting for decency in a world fast succumbing to evil and stupidity. As he shares his story, the reader comes to recognize that this in no petulant knight of the British aristocracy given to sounding off at a legion of imagined ills. Rather, Hitchen is a creature of humble and unclear origins, equipped with a razor sharp mind that includes a gift for words, a strong social conscience and a desire to seek out and understand his destiny. The hurdles he has to overcome are both fascinating and monumental. There is an early childhood dealing with parents who are consumed by their own personal issues and prejudices, followed by a less-than-inspiring stint in a public school, followed by a break-out period at Oxford, to be consumated by a career as a lead journalist for such publications as the New Statesman and Vanity Fair. As a contrarian, Hitchens always seems to position himself on the side of reason and truth when it comes to doing verbal battle with his opponents. As a member of the international Socialist movement, Hitchens plainly does not suffer fools, liars, hypocrites, or demigods gladly. The two parts of the book supporting this observation involve his efforts to support Rushdie during the Ayatollah Khomeini's issuing of a fatwa against him for writing the "The Satanic Verses" and his very visible media campaign in support the US overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Read more ›
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tangential and a bit disappointing May 1 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed "God is not great" and the author's command of the english language is incontestable. However this book wandered excessively and seemed to be more of a manic stream of thoughts and ideas than an organized memoir. Long passages describing political movements and historical events which were only remotely related to the author's own life became a bit tiresome on several occasions. I was really hoping to learn more about the experiences that lead to Hitchen's atheism and writings in general, but found myself disappointed. Overall, this book was more about certain esoteric aspects of history and politics, and less about Hitchen's himself.
Other reviewers don't share my impressions so perhaps I am off base, but I pushed hard to make it to the end of this book and, unlike other memoirs I have read, could not see myself reading this again. There were a few passages of literary brilliance, but they were buried in a large volume of disorganized prose. I am guessing that the editor was too intimidated to step in to clean this up, but I guess the court of public opinion will determine whether this book has any merit. The fact that there are less than 10 reviews to date may be some indication...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something approaching awe April 6 2012
By Troy Parfitt TOP 1000 REVIEWER
While sending out review copies for my book about China, I warned readers they might find its content polemical, controversial, "politically incorrect," or whatever. Two reviewers replied `not to worry,' - they liked oppositionist perspectives and were admirers of Christopher Hitchens. I thought, `Christopher who?' Incredibly, I didn't know who Hitchens was (in 2011, no less), though I knew of his book God is Not Great, which didn't appeal to me because, pompously perhaps, I reckoned I didn't need to read an argument I already supported and a conclusion I had already arrived at. Like many, I familiarized myself with Mr. Hitchens through Youtube and found myself learning heaps about politics and history, and more than I expected to about religion (I had never thought of religion as the original tyranny, for example). And then I chanced upon a copy of his memoir.

Hitch-22 is the best memoir I've read and better than any biography I've read. From a startling account about his mother's suicide to a Socratic declaration of how little he knows (the spur which kept him learning and reflecting on his positions and beliefs), Hitchens's crisp and articulate prose courses through 400 pages, drawing you in, propelling you on, causing you to reflect, and impelling you to learn more about the many subjects, historical events, themes, and memes he scrutinizes and dissects. It also sends you to the dictionary, a healthy exercise, surely.

And it's not a conventional memoir. Apart from the section pertaining to his youth, there is little straightforward or chronological autobiography, and there is limited mention of things there should be, his wife and children for instance.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Derek K
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitch at his Best.
Always challenging ideas, beliefs and dogmas, Christopher Hitchens is at his trenchant best with his penetrating insight. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Morlan Rees
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary, conversational, erudite,
This was another example of Hitchens" remarkable talent. Although I was not able to identify with many of the personalities
of whom he wrote in Britain, his syle,... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Randy P Galluzzi
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
It is a good gift of God that we, who for one reason or another are hearing what the new atheists are saying, are not subjected to a procession of humorless Richard Dawkins clones. Read more
Published on Oct. 15 2011 by Mark Nenadov
2.0 out of 5 stars A Man for All Seasons
In our times religious dogma has been discarded and political certainty has been replaced by pragmatism; the US Federal Reserve supported the biggest ever acquisition by the state... Read more
Published on Oct. 2 2010 by Robert Horn
5.0 out of 5 stars Need more
I've only recently been introduced to Christopher Hitchens' writing, and I find his prose pure fun to read. Read more
Published on Aug. 26 2010 by R. Neufeld
2.0 out of 5 stars Well written revealing a nasty person
I had read "God is not Great" by this author and have read magazine articles by him and have watched this man on TV doing interviews. Read more
Published on July 8 2010 by R. I. Dacre
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