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Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens (Counterblasts)by Richard Seymour
Synopses & Reviews
Among the forgettable ranks of ex-Leftists, Christopher Hitchens stands out as someone determined to stand out. Rejecting the well-worn paths of hard-right evangelism and capitalist “realism,” he identified with nothing outside his own idiosyncrasies. A habitual mugwump who occasionally masqueraded as a “Marxist,” the role he adopted late in his career, as a free radical within the US establishment, had ample precedents from his earlier incarnation. It wasn’t the Damascene conversion he described. His long-standing admiration for America, his fascination with the Right as the truly “revolutionary” force, his closet Thatcherism, his theophobia and disdain for the actually existing Left had all been present in different ways throughout his political life. Post–9/11, they merely found a new articulation.
For all that, the Hitchensian idiolect was a highly unique, marketable formula. He is a recognizable historical type—the apostate leftist—and as such presents a rewarding, entertaining and an enlightening case study.
Blistering and timely interrogation of the politics and motives of an infamous ex-leftist.
Richard Seymour lives, works and writes in London. He runs the Lenin’s Tomb website, which comments on the War on Terror, Islamophobia and neoliberalism.
Irascible and forthright, Christopher Hitchens stood out as a man determined to do just that. In his younger years, a career-minded socialist, he emerged from the smoke of 9/11 a neoconservative “Marxist,” an advocate of America’s invasion of Iraq filled with passionate intensity. Throughout his life, he played the role of universal gadfly, whose commitment to the truth transcended the party line as well as received wisdom. But how much of this was imposture? In this highly critical study, Richard Seymour casts a cold eye over the career of the “Hitch” to uncover an intellectual trajectory determined by expediency and a fetish for power.
As an orator and writer, Hitchens offered something unique and highly marketable. But for all his professed individualism, he remains a recognizable historical type—the apostate leftist. Unhitched presents a rewarding and entertaining case study, one that is also a cautionary tale for our times.
About the Author
Richard Seymour lives, works and writes in London. He is the editor Lenin's Tomb, one of UK's most popular political blogs, which comments on the War on Terror, Islamophobia and neoliberalism and is the author of The Meaning of David Cameron and American Insurgents: A Brief History of American Anti-Imperialism.
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