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Hitch 22: A Memoir by Christopher Hitchens
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Hitch 22: A Memoir (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Christopher Hitchens

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1,352415,695 (3.95)71
Member:hnn
Title:Hitch 22: A Memoir
Authors:Christopher Hitchens
Info:Atlantic Books (2010), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, Just read
Rating:*****
Tags:memoir

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Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens (2010)

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Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
An in my opinion perfect memoir / autobiography. It is not often that one discovers a writer that moves, impresses, reasons logically and patiently, and most of all, inspires, at the same time. I have a sense that I will at some point have read all of his work, and I both look forward to that day and fear it at the same time.

A totally honest recount of his past. Christopher Hitchens refuses to put on rose-tinted glasses, and is critical but empathetic of his past self. The narrative follows Hitchens from his boyhood years, in totalitarian English public boarding school, to his early socialist activist years, the people he met along the way, the great writers and poets, the polemics and the politicians, the dictators he interviewed and the fools he observed.

The topics range from friendship to familly to politics to literature to history, and anyone who is looking for some perspective should read this great book, by the great Christopher Hitchens. Contrarily to the misguided views of the new left, he was a man driven by his moral conscience, always looking for a way of improving the planet, through constant discussion, writing and reading, and his goal was always to create a better place in the world for the repressed, forgotten people of countries whose destructive governments wanted so badly to have their misled opinions become truth that the resulting totalitarian states were only good for the elimination of everything that defines a human.
  bartt95 | Jun 22, 2016 |
This was a very interesting book to listen to as it is read by the author and is a memoir, so I really felt like I really connected with his experiences. Hitchens' transformation from a socialist during the Vietnam era to a pro removal of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban journalist who saw many historical events first hand was very interesting. I found I really liked his candid voice and much of his thinking. However, I was sadly disappointed to hear him state something about my religion that was just downright inaccurate. Then I was further dismayed to listen to him claim that antidepressants cause one to live a life of false feelings and basically live in a non-reality. I find this statement arrogant and most often spouted by those with no experience of dealing with the far more "unreal" feelings of chronic depression. Apart from these two objections, I would have given the book a 5 star! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
This was a very interesting book to listen to as it is read by the author and is a memoir, so I really felt like I really connected with his experiences. Hitchens' transformation from a socialist during the Vietnam era to a pro removal of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban journalist who saw many historical events first hand was very interesting. I found I really liked his candid voice and much of his thinking. However, I was sadly disappointed to hear him state something about my religion that was just downright inaccurate. Then I was further dismayed to listen to him claim that antidepressants cause one to live a life of false feelings and basically live in a non-reality. I find this statement arrogant and most often spouted by those with no experience of dealing with the far more "unreal" feelings of chronic depression. Apart from these two objections, I would have given the book a 5 star! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
My favorite biography so far, auto or otherwise. I was particularly hit hard by the fate of his mother. If you want to understand more about the man than just his arguments, perhaps why he argues the way he does, you'd do well to read this book. ( )
  Michael_Rose | Jan 10, 2016 |
i ( )
  berthirsch | Oct 16, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Christopher Hitchens became dazzled by his “friendships” with the rich and powerful and turned into an apologist for war on Iraq. Terry Eagleton reads his new memoir –– and finds a man in conflict with every one of his own instincts.

Oedipus wrecked

The Oedipal children of the establishment have always proved useful to the left. Such ruling-class renegades have the grit, chutzpah, inside knowledge, effortless self-assurance, stylishness, fair conscience and bloody-mindedness of their social background, but can turn these patrician virtues to radical ends. The only trouble is that they tend to revert to type as they grow older, not least when political times are lean. The Paul Foots and Perry Andersons of this world are a rare breed. Men and women who began by bellowing "Out, out, out!" end up humiliating waiters and overrating Evelyn Waugh. Those who, like Christopher Hitchens, detest a cliché turn into one of the dreariest types of them all: the revolutionary hothead who learns how to stop worrying about imperialism and love Paul Wolfowitz.

That Hitchens represents a grievous loss to the left is beyond doubt. He is a superb writer, superior in wit and elegance to his hero George Orwell, and an unstanchably eloquent speaker. He has an insatiable curiosity about the modern world and an encyclopaedic knowledge of it, as well as an unflagging fascination with himself. Through getting to know all the right people, an instinct as inbuilt as his pancreas, he could tell you without missing a beat whom best to consult in Rabat about education policy in the Atlas Mountains. The same instinct leads to chummy lunches with Bill Deedes and Peregrine Worsthorne. In his younger days, he was not averse to dining with repulsive fat cats while giving them a piece of his political mind. Nowadays, one imagines, he just dines with repulsive fat cats. . . .

 
Hitchens acknowledges many people for their help, but interestingly no specific editor for this particular book. This is unfortunate: a good editor might have cut out 100 pages, pruned the moments of self-indulgence, reminded Hitchens that abuse is not equivalent to analysis and asked for a little more introspection. Read Christopher Hitchens, certainly, but not necessarily Hitch-22.
added by Shortride | editThe Monthly, Dennis Altman (May 1, 2010)
 
A generous friend, Mr. Hitchens gives most of his book’s good lines (and there are many, a good deal of them unprintable here) to the people he loves. Those good lines including this one, from Clive James, who began a review of a Leonid Brezhnev memoir this way: “Here is a book so dull that a whirling dervish could read himself to sleep with it.... If it were read in the open air, birds would fall stunned from the sky." Whatever the opposite of that book is, Mr. Hitchens has written it.
 
Our protagonist is a bit of a disembodied brain, highly capable of poignancy but not exactly introspection or, as is welcome in memoirs, overwhelming indiscretion. (Would it be primitive to say that he seems so English in this way, though he’s become an American citizen?) When he shares a tender memory, his preference is to quickly convert it into a larger political observation; for him, politics remains the most crucial sphere of moral and intellectual life.
 
When previously surveying his writerly recycling, I wrote, “I did not compile these examples to suggest that Hitchens has dined out on the same material for decades,” but Hitch-22 made me start to wonder.
 
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Epigraph
The desires of the heart are as crooked as corkscrews,

Not to be born is the best for man;

The second-best is a formal order,

The dance’s pattern; dance while you can.

Dance, dance for the figure is easy,

The tune is catching and will not stop;

Dance till the stars come down from the rafters;

Dance, dance, dance till you drop.

W. H. Auden’s “Death’s Echo.”
Dedication
For James Fenton
First words
Quotations
"A map of the world that did not show Utopia," said Oscar Wilde, "would not be worth consulting." I used to adore that phrase, but now reflect more upon the shipwrecks and prison islands to which the quest has lead. p.420
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446540331, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:58 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"The life story of one of the most admired and controversial public intellectuals of our time"--Provided by publisher.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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