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Arguably by Christopher Hitchens
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Arguably (2011)

by Christopher Hitchens

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8021711,392 (4.18)44
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It’s a testament to Hitchens’ fecund mind that a collection covering the last decade or so of his life runs to well over 700 pages. It’s equal testament to his consistent excellence that at no point does the quality drop off. His always immaculate style is present, as is his impeccable research and willingness to follow a trail of thought to its logical conclusion. Polemicist he may have been but rarely, if ever, does Hitchens fudge facts to arrive at predetermined conclusions.

As a collection it’s an excellent introduction to Hitchens, his style and his favoured subjects. The opening section’s dedicated to his fascination with America, the second to literature, others to international politics and the English language and one more to his more provocative pieces – in this last section, alongside rages at the annoyances of modern life and the British Royal family there’s his infamous piece on Why Women Aren’t Funny. It’s admittedly chauvinistic but also clearly tongue in cheek at times. And as ever, you can’t help but be impressed by his style, the breadth of reference and willingness to investigate the more dangerous areas of the world to see if the picture we’re drawing from afar is accurate – in here are pieces about Afghanistan and the modern use of torture as practised by the US.

There’s the usual downside with Hitchens that he can often come across as arrogant and condescending, with attitudes very much shaped by the English public school system. It’s always backed up by the application of hard thought though and willingness to follow a line of argument, no matter how unappealing the logical conclusions. At no point does the cancer which ended his life impinge on his work, neither in subject nor in the evident vitality of his writing (though this is dealt with in the short collection Mortality). A beautifully selected collection which sums up a writer cut down in what still appeared to be his prime. It’s a great shame that the conversations with Hitchens will now always be one way now. ( )
  JonArnold | Aug 15, 2014 |
Hitchens had a staggeringly encyclopedic mind, one that brought obscure references to all manner of history, culture, beast, or man. As he so clearly shows with the range of topics in this hefty collection of essays, he could carry on about most anything and always surprise you with facts and outspoken opinions. At times, when I was reading an essay on a topic that had never interested me before, he could give it a twist, and keep me turning the pages to see what was coming around the next bend. When our opinions clashed (always inevitable with Hitchens, he could piss anyone off) it was fun to see where he was taking the reader, and many time it was up and over the top. He loved to get a rise out of people. His ego knew no bounds within these covers. This man was one fascinating piece of work. ( )
  jphamilton | Jul 25, 2014 |
A first-class intellect, slashing his way through the phony crap of the politically correct culture.
  KurtK | Oct 15, 2013 |
A collection of book reviews and articles (both online and print), Arguably covers almost every conceivable topic. The book reviews cover 18c to the present and most geographic areas of the world-Persian poetry to Harry Potter. His articles likewise explore the depth and breadth of the globe. Well worth the listen. ( )
  ScoutJ | Apr 27, 2013 |
I don't always agree with Christopher Hitchens - probably very few people do due to his very independent and original no-hole-barred and no-cow is-sacred approach. However the man was brilliant and his writings were outstanding. It is always interesting to read or listen to him. This book is a collection of his various essays of last years before his death. It covers many subjects and I found myself fascinated even when reading about something I wouldn't normally be interested in. Most of those subjects though are very interesting and relevant and will be relevant - sometimes unfortunately - for years to come. ( )
  everfresh1 | Apr 23, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
So, having paid my dues to critical candor, I still find Hitchens one of the most stimulating thinkers and entertaining writers we have, even when — perhaps especially when — he provokes. And while he clearly wants to win you over, you always sense that he is playing in part to the jury of history, which is why so much of what he might, in a rare self-deprecating moment, refer to as hackwork stands up so well to ­anthologizing.
 
Hitchens is, and has been for many years, the mightiest knocker-down in argumentative journalism in the Anglophone world. This vast volume, containing ten years of argufying, is every bit as pugilistic, as unanswerable, as toughly rationalist, as unstoppable, as strenuously lived, as its many predecessors from his hand.
 

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Christopher Hitchensprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Live all you can: It's a mistake not to." - Lambert Strether, in The Ambassadors
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To the memory of Mohemed Bouazizi, Abu-Abdel Monaam Hamedeh, and Ali Mehdi Zeu.
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The three names on the dedication page belonged to a Tunisian steet vendor, and Egyptian restaurateur, and a Libyan husband and father.
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Essayist Christopher Hitchens ruminates on why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men, the haunting science fiction of J.G. Ballard, the enduring legacies of Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell, the persistent agonies of anti-Semitism and jihad, the enduring relevance of Karl Marx, and how politics justifies itself by culture--and how the latter prompts the former.… (more)

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