The Quotable Hitchens: From Alcohol to Zionism - The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens Paperback – May 10 2011
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Vanity Fair, May 2011
“Quotable Hitchens presents a cavalcade of Vanity Fair’s notorious provocateur-in-chief Christopher Hitchens’s finest flaming arrows, mud balls, and political grenades.”
“Without troubling to do the research, you could safely say that Hitchens, formerly the TLS’s American correspondent, has a view on everything. Now you can do the research.”
“It often seems as if Christopher Hitchens has spent his life writing and speaking with a collection such as this in mind.”
“Slings, arrows, withering one-liners—the immaculate quotes of Christopher Hitchens have been fondly anthologized…The Quotable Hitchens [is] a 300-odd-page chrestomathy of provocation, comedy and-all seeing fury.”
Los Angeles Times, 7/7/11
“It makes for easy reading or perusing. Hitchens devotees will be most rewarded. But others, particularly curious types who haven’t paid Hitchens much attention, can treat the book as a tip sheet.”
Johannesburg Times, 7/18/11
“Look out for The Quotable Hitchens: From Alcohol to Zionism…which does what it says on the box.”
“[Hitchens is] charming, inflammatory, brilliant, and abrasive.”
About the Author
Windsor Mann has been an editor at the Washington Times and a researcher for several best-selling authors. He is a writer and lives in Washington, D.C.
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With that in mind, this book works perfectly in short bursts. And its alphabetical indexing perfectly divides it into 26 neat sections. I recommend reading one section a day. It feels like just the right amount. And of course, this makes an incredibly useful desk reference. If you ever need a sharp, intellectual quote to open a research paper or argument, this will become your favorite source. I've already used it twice in this way. It's easy to start on a high note when you can quickly find a quote on almost any topic you can think of, from one of the sharpest writers of the modern era.
One of the things that surprised me about this book is the extremely broad use of his quotes, in regards to both subject matter and time. The sections on "god", "Iraq War", and "Smoking" are shorter than you may expect, and there are dozens of topics you wouldn't expect, like "Patterns", "Euphemisms", and "Tennis". And the quotes themselves are evenly spread over his entire career. I expected it to rely primarily on his more widely known post-9/11 works, but this is not the case. Quite a bit of the material comes from interviews and columns from several decades ago. This is a great thing for devoted fans, as so much of it feels completely new. I own all of Hitch's books, and I was happily surprised to see so many quotes I'd never seen before.
Martin Amis' charming foreword alone is worth the price of the book, and at less than $10, you can't go wrong. It makes a great reference by itself, and if you're even mildly interested in Christopher Hitchens, you'll be happy to have this!
"Quotable Hitchens" is a master class in how to express strong opinions in ways that cannot be forgotten.
While there are topics covered in the book that not only do I not care much about, but know even less about, each quotation gives some special insight into this strange contrarian's brilliant mind, and for me at least, holds up ideas to be examined in different lights.
I find it impossible to write about Hitchens without lionizing him, even though I think he can be terribly mistaken about things. It's because he's like an uncle I would have wanted as a teen--able to spit in convention's eye with such deadly accuracy that it wins the admiration of even the spit-upon, and so adept with a turn of phrase that even his most erudite opposition (think Hitchens vs. Blair: Be It Resolved Religion Is a Force for Good in the World (The Munk Debates)) can be rocked back on its heels.
This book preserves some of the sharpest lines Hitchens has spoken or written, and taken as a whole, they help explain why Hitchens says he's never so happy as when he's hunched over a book or typewriter. For him, language is the ultimate playground.
Hoping that Mr. Hitchens is recovering from his health problems, and resting (at least on his laurels) and can come back to my small town of Claremont in big L.A. to visit our local college. Hearing him speak last year was a most acute pleasure - who would know English could sound so beautiful & just?
The best part of the book is a very touching forward written by his good friend Martin Amis, esp. the last paragraph.