Christopher Hitchens Books: Christopher Eric Hitchens was an English-American socio-political critic and public intellectual, who mainly expressed himself as an author, journalist, orator, and columnist. He wrote, co-wrote, edited or co-edited over 30 books, including five of essays on culture, politics, and literature
With a close and studied reading of the major religious texts, Christopher Hitchens documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope’s awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix.
In the tradition of Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris’s The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion.
In this unique biography of Thomas Jefferson, leading journalist and social critic Christopher Hitchens offers a startlingly new and provocative interpretation of our Founding Father. Situating Jefferson within the context of America’s evolution and tracing his legacy over the past two hundred years, Hitchens brings the character of Jefferson to life as a man of his time and also as a symbolic figure beyond it.
Conflicted by power, Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and acted as Minister to France yet yearned for a quieter career in the Virginia legislature. Predicting that slavery would shape the future of America’s development, this professed proponent of emancipation elided the issue in the Declaration and continued to own human property. An eloquent writer, he was an awkward public speaker; a reluctant candidate, he left an indelible presidential legacy.
Jefferson’s statesmanship enabled him to negotiate the Louisia
On June 8, 2010, while on a book tour for his bestselling memoir, Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens was stricken in his New York hotel room with excruciating pain in his chest and thorax. As he would later write in the first of a series of award-winning columns for Vanity Fair, he suddenly found himself being deported “from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady.” Over the next eighteen months, until his death in Houston on December 15, 2011, he wrote constantly and brilliantly on politics and culture, astonishing readers with his capacity for superior work even in extremis.
Throughout the course of his ordeal battling esophageal cancer, Hitchens adamantly and bravely refused the solace of religion, preferring to confront death with both eyes open. In this riveting account of his affliction, Hitchens poignantly describes the torments of illness, discusses its taboos, and explores how disease transforms experience and changes our relationship to the world around us. By turns personal and philosophical, Hitchens embraces the full panoply of human emotions as cancer invades his body and compels him to grapple with the enigma of death.
“All first-rate criticism first defines what we are confronting,” the late, great jazz critic Whitney Balliett once wrote. By that measure, the essays of Christopher Hitchens are in the first tier. For nearly four decades, Hitchens has been telling us, in pitch-perfect prose, what we confront when we grapple with first principles-the principles of reason and tolerance and skepticism that define and inform the foundations of our civilization-principles that, to endure, must be defended anew by every generation.
“A short list of the greatest living conversationalists in English,” said The Economist, “would probably have to include Christopher Hitchens, Sir Patrick Leigh-Fermor, and Sir Tom Stoppard. Great brilliance, fantastic powers of recall, and quick wit are clearly valuable in sustaining conversation at these cosmic levels. Charm may be helpful, too.” Hitchens-who staunchly declines all offers of knighthood-hereby invites you to take a seat at a democratic conversation, to be engaged, and to be reasoned with. His knowledge is formidable, an encyclopedic treasure, and yet one has the feeling, reading him, of hearing a person thinking out loud, following the inexorable logic of his thought, wherever it might lead, unafraid to expose fraudulence, denounce injustice, and excoriate hypocrisy. Legions of readers, admirers and detractors alike, have learned to read Hitchens with something approaching awe at his felicity of language, the oxygen in every sentence, the enviable wit and his readiness, even eagerness, to fight a foe or mount the ramparts.
In No One Left to Lie To, a New York Times bestseller, Christopher Hitchens casts an unflinching eye on the Clinton political machine and offers a searing indictment of a president who sought to hold power at any cost.
With blistering wit and meticulous documentation, Hitchens masterfully deconstructs Clinton’s abject propensity for pandering to the Left while delivering to the Right, and he argues that the president’s personal transgressions were ultimately inseparable from his political corruption.
Hitchens questions the president’s refusals to deny accusations of rape by reputable women and lambasts, among numerous impostures, his insistence on playing the race card, the shortsightedness of his welfare bill, his ludicrous war on drugs, and his abandonment of homosexuals in the form of the Defense of Marriage Act.
At the dawn of the new atheist movement, the thinkers who became known as “the four horsemen,” the heralds of religion’s unraveling—Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett—sat down together over cocktails. What followed was a rigorous, pathbreaking, and enthralling exchange, which has been viewed millions of times since it was first posted on YouTube. This is intellectual inquiry at its best: exhilarating, funny, and unpredictable, sincere and probing, reminding us just how varied and colorful the threads of modern atheism are.
Here is the transcript of that conversation, in print for the first time, augmented by material from the living participants: Dawkins, Harris, and Dennett. These new essays, introduced by Stephen Fry, mark the evolution of their thinking and highlight particularly resonant aspects of this epic exchange. Each man contends with the most fundamental questions of human existence while challenging the others to articulate their own stance on God and religion, cultural criticism, spirituality, debate with people of faith, and the components of a truly ethical life.
Over the course of his 60 years, Christopher Hitchens has been a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom. He has been both a socialist opposed to the war in Vietnam and a supporter of the U.S. war against Islamic extremism in Iraq. He has been both a foreign correspondent in some of the world’s most dangerous places and a legendary bon vivant with an unquenchable thirst for alcohol and literature. He is a fervent atheist, raised as a Christian, by a mother whose Jewish heritage was not revealed to him until her suicide.
In other words, Christopher Hitchens contains multitudes. He sees all sides of an argument. And he believes the personal is political.
This is the story of his life, lived large.
In this widely acclaimed biographical essay, the masterful polemicist Christopher Hitchens assesses the life, the achievements, and the myth of the great political writer and participant George Orwell. True to his contrarian style, Hitchens is both admiring and aggressive, sympathetic yet critical, taking true measure of his subject as hero and problem. Answering both the detractors and the false claimants, Hitchens tears down the faÃ§e of sainthood erected by the hagiographers and rebuts the critics point by point. He examines Orwell and his perspectives on fascism, empire, feminism, and Englishness, as well as his outlook on America, a country and culture towards which he exhibited much ambivalence. Whether thinking about empires or dictators, race or class, nationalism or popular culture, Orwell’s moral outlook remains indispensable in a world that has undergone vast changes in the seven decades since his death. Combining the best of Hitchens’ polemical punch and intellectual elegance in a tightly woven and subtle argument, this book addresses not only why Orwell matters today, but how he will continue to matter in a future, uncertain world.
A provocative and entertaining guided tour of atheist and agnostic thought through the ages–with never-before-published pieces by Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.Christopher Hitchens continues to make the case for a splendidly godless universe in this first-ever gathering of the influential voices–past and present–that have shaped his side of the current (and raging) God/no-god debate. With Hitchens as your erudite and witty guide, you’ll be led through a wealth of philosophy, literature, and scientific inquiry, including generous portions of the words of Lucretius, Benedict de Spinoza, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Mark Twain, George Eliot, Bertrand Russell, Emma Goldman, H. L. Mencken, Albert Einstein, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and many others well-known and lesser known. And they’re all set in context and commented upon as only Christopher Hitchens
“A religious fundamentalist, a political operative, a primitive sermonizer, and an accomplice of worldly secular powers. Her mission has always been of this kind. The irony is that she has never been able to induce anybody to believe her. It is past time that she was duly honored and taken at her word.”
Among his many books, perhaps none have sparked more outrage than The Missionary Position, Christopher Hitchens’s meticulous study of the life and deeds of Mother Teresa.
A Nobel Peace Prize recipient beatified by the Catholic Church in 2003, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was celebrated by heads of state and adored by millions for her work on behalf of the poor. In his measured critique, Hitchens asks only that Mother Teresa’s reputation be judged by her actions-not the other way around.
Forget Pinochet, Milosevic, Hussein, Kim Jong-il, or Gaddafi: America need look no further than its own lauded leaders for a war criminal whose offenses rival those of the most heinous dictators in recent history-Henry Kissinger.
Employing evidence based on firsthand testimony, unpublished documents, and new information uncovered by the Freedom of Information Act, and using only what would hold up in international courts of law, The Trial of Henry Kissinger outlines atrocities authorized by the former secretary of state in Indochina, Bangladesh, Chile, Cyprus, East Timor, and in the plight of the Iraqi Kurds, “including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture.”
With the precision and tenacity of a prosecutor, Hitchens offers an unrepentant portrait of a felonious diplomat who “maintained that laws were like cobwebs,” and implores governments around the world, including our own, to bring him swiftly to justice.
Thomas Paine was one of the greatest advocates of freedom in history, and his Declaration of the Rights of Man, first published in 1791, is the key to his reputation. Inspired by his outrage at Edmund Burke’s attack on the French Revolution, Paine’s text is a passionate defense of man’s inalienable rights. Since its publication, Rights of Man has been celebrated, criticized, maligned, suppressed, and co-opted. But in Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man, the polemicist and commentator Christopher Hitchens, “at his characteristically incisive best,” marvels at its forethought and revels in its contentiousness (The Times, London). Hitchens is a political descendant of the great pamphleteer, “a Tom Paine for our troubled times.” (The Independent, London) In this “engaging account of Paine’s life and times [that is] well worth reading” he demonstrates how Paine’s book forms the philosophical cornerstone of the United States, and how, “in a time when both rights and reason are under attack,” Thomas Paine’s life and writing “will always be part of the arsenal on which we shall need to depend.” (New Statesman)
“Art of Mentoring” seriesIn the book that he was born to write, provocateur and best-selling author Christopher Hitchens inspires future generations of radicals, gadflies, mavericks, rebels, angry young (wo)men, and dissidents. Who better to speak to that person who finds him or herself in a contrarian position than Hitchens, who has made a career of disagreeing in profound and entertaining ways. This book explores the entire range of “contrary positions”-from noble dissident to gratuitous pain in the butt. In an age of overly polite debate bending over backward to reach a happy consensus within an increasingly centrist political dialogue, Hitchens pointedly pitches himself in contrast. He bemoans the loss of the skills of dialectical thinking evident in contemporary society. He understands the importance of disagreement-to personal integrity, to informed discussion, to true progress-heck, to democracy itself. Epigrammatic, spunky, witty, in your face, timeless and timely, this book is everything you would expect from a mentoring contrarian.
“I did not, I wish to state, become a journalist because there was no other ‘profession’ that would have me. I became a journalist because I did not want to rely on newspapers for information.” Love, Poverty and War: Journeys and Essays showcases America’s leading polemicist’s rejection of consensus and clichÃ© whether he’s reporting from abroad in Indonesia, Kurdistan, Iraq, North Korea, or Cuba, or when his pen is targeted mercilessly at the likes of William Clinton, Mother Theresa (“a fanatic, a fundamentalist and a fraud”), the Dalai Lama, Noam Chomsky, Mel Gibson and Michael Bloomberg. Hitchens began the nineties as a “darling of the left” but has become more of an “unaffiliated radical” whose targets include those on the “left,” who he accuses of “fudging” the issue of military intervention in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, as Hitchens shows in his reportage, cultural and literary criticism, and opinion essays from the last decade, he has not jumped ship and joined the right but is faithful to the internationalist, contrarian and democratic ideals that have always informed his work.
Over the past few decades, the bestselling author of Hitch-22 has crisscrossed the globe debating religious scholars, Catholic clergy, rabbis, and devout Christians on the existence of God — appearances that have attracted thousands of people on both sides of the issue. He has been invited to talk shows and events to discuss everything from the death of Jerry Falwell to the sainthood of Mother Teresa, from U.S. policy in the Middle East to the dangers of religious fundamentalism and beyond. And he is always armed with pithy discourse that is as intelligent as it is quotable.
The Quotable Hitchens gathers for the first time the eminent journalist, public intellectual, and all-around provocateur Christopher Hitchen’s most scathing, inflammatory, hilarious, and clear-cut commentary from the course of his storied career. Drawn from his many TV appearances, debates, lectures, interviews, articles, and books, the quotations are arranged alphabetically by subject — from atheism and alcoholism to George Orwell and Bertrand Russell, from Islamofascism and Iraq to smoking and sex.
Since the end of the Cold War so-called experts have been predicting the eclipse of America’s “special relationship” with Britain. But as events have shown, especially in the wake of 9/11, the political and cultural ties between America and Britain have grown stronger. Blood, Class and Empire examines the dynamics of this relationship, its many cultural manifestations — the James Bond series, PBS “brit Kitsch,” Rudyard Kipling — and explains why it still persists. Contrarian, essayist and polemicist Christopher Hitchens notes that while the relationship is usually presented as a matter of tradition, manners, and common culture, sanctified by wartime alliance, the special ingredient is empire; transmitted from an ancien regime that has tried to preserve and renew itself thereby. England has attempted to play Greece to the American Rome, but ironically having encouraged the United States to become an equal partner in the business of empire, Britain found itself supplanted.
In this scathing essay, Christopher Hitchens looks at the relationship of the press and the public to the royal family, unpacking the tautology and contradictory arguments that prop it up. In his inimitable style, Hitchens argues that our desire not to profane or disturb the monarchy is a failure of reason and a confusion of reality. Fealty to the magic of monarchy stops us looking objectively at our own history and hinders open-minded criticism of our present. It is time we outgrew it.
One of his generation’s greatest public intellectuals, and perhaps its fiercest,
Christopher Hitchens was a brilliant interview subject. This collection—which
spans from his early prominence as a hero of the Left to his controversial
support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan toward the end of his life—
showcases Hitch’s trademark wit on subjects as diverse as his mistrust of the
media, his love of literature, his dislike of the Clintons, and his condemnation of
all things religious. Beginning with an introduction and tribute from his longtime
friend Stephen Fry, this collection culminates in Hitchens’s fearless final
interview with Richard Dawkins, which shows a man as unafraid of death as
he was of everything in life.
The gloves come off in this electric exchange, originally hosted by Christianity Today, as leading atheist Christopher Hitchens (author of God Is Not Great) and Christian apologist Douglas Wilson (author of Letter from a Christian Citizen) go head-to-head on this divisive question. The result is entertaining and provocative—a glimpse into the ongoing debate.
At the time of his death, Hitchens left nearly 250,000 words of essays not yet published in book form. “Another great book of essays from a writer who we wish were still alive to produce more copy” (National Review), And Yet… ranges from the literary to the political and is a banquet of entertaining and instructive delights, including essays on Orwell, Lermontov, Chesterton, Fleming, Naipaul, Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk, and Dickens, among others, as well as his laugh-out-loud self-mocking “makeover.” The range and quality of Hitchens’s essays transcend the particular occasions for which they were originally written, yielding “a bounty of famous scalps, thunder-blasted targets, and a few love letters from the notorious provocateur-in-chief’s erudite and scathing assessments of American culture” (Vanity Fair). Often prescient, always pugnacious, formidably learned, Hitchens was a polemicist for the ages. With this posthumous volume, he remains, “America’s foremost rhetorical pugilist” (The Village Voice).