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Arguably: Essays

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Arguably: Essays Cover

ISBN13: 9781455502783
ISBN10: 1455502782
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"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.

Here, he supplies fresh perceptions of such figures as varied as Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Rebecca West, George Orwell, J.G. Ballard, and Philip Larkin are matched in brilliance by his pungent discussions and intrepid observations, gathered from a lifetime of traveling and reporting from such destinations as Iran, China, and Pakistan.

Hitchens's directness, elegance, lightly carried erudition, critical and psychological insight, humor, and sympathy — applied as they are here to a dazzling variety of subjects — all set a standard for the essayist that has rarely been matched in our time. What emerges from this indispensable volume is an intellectual self-portrait of a writer with an exemplary steadiness of purpose and a love affair with the delights and seductions of the English language, a man anchored in a profound and humane vision of the human longing for reason and justice.

Review:

"Anyone who occasionally opens one of our more serious periodicals has learned that the byline of Christopher Hitchens is an opportunity to be delighted or maddened — possibly both — but in any case not to be missed....His range is extraordinary, both in breadth and altitude. He is as self-confident on the politics of Lebanon as on the ontology of the Harry Potter books....I still find Hitchens one of the most stimulating thinkers and entertaining we have, even when — perhaps especially when — he provokes." Bill Keller, New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Christopher Hitchens, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, Slate, and The Atlantic, is the author of numerous books, including works on Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and George Orwell. He is also the author of the international bestsellers god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything and Hitch-22: A Memoir.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Jeanne Fuchs, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Jeanne Fuchs)
The death of Christopher Hitchins is a great loss to people who think and love to read. This collection of essays remains entertaining, thought provoking,
and immensely engaging on a deep intellectual level. He has the perfect background in the humanities in the most essential way. His comments on the people, the works, and the authors he examines are always new and often disarming. I miss his literary presence and only wish I had known him or had been able to converse with him. The breadth of his understanding of literature, politics, and culture is all but unequaled today. I recommend him to all who love to read.

Discover him for yourself!
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Bethany Dotson, November 27, 2012 (view all comments by Bethany Dotson)
I found myself having to alternate between this and Judge Judy just to restore my faith in my own legitimacy as a human being--after all, I cannot quote Orwell off the top of my head, nor say something like "In case you've all forgotten, this is how [insert some "famous" essay here] starts:". Hitchens is obviously impressed with his own intelligence, and nobody's opinions, if they disagree with his own, have any merit--yet despite these annoyances, this collection of essays is undeniably informative & interesting. Make sure you have a smartphone or laptop handy to look up all the references that he's going to throw at you, but also be prepared to reexamine your own assumptions about literature, famous figures, and historical events.

The organization of this collection is superb, and probably the best value collections I've purchased in a long time. Hitchens' writing is unmatched (which, of course, he knows), and although I'd never want to have dinner with the man, he's obviously brilliant. Five stars for writing, content, style, and everything else. The only demerit point I would give is for smugness.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781455502783
Subtitle:
Essays
Author:
Hitchens, Christopher
Author:
Hitchens, Christopher
Publisher:
Twelve
Subject:
Sociology -- essays.
Subject:
Anthologies-Essays
Publication Date:
20120931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English

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Arguably: Essays Used Trade Paper
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Product details pages Twelve - English 9781455502783 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Anyone who occasionally opens one of our more serious periodicals has learned that the byline of Christopher Hitchens is an opportunity to be delighted or maddened — possibly both — but in any case not to be missed....His range is extraordinary, both in breadth and altitude. He is as self-confident on the politics of Lebanon as on the ontology of the Harry Potter books....I still find Hitchens one of the most stimulating thinkers and entertaining we have, even when — perhaps especially when — he provokes."
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