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The Enemy (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

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Length: 15 pages

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Celebrated polemicist Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, reflects upon the life and death of Osama bin Laden in The Enemy. This isn't the first time Hitchens has turned his barbed pen on a despot guilty of drinking too much of his own Kool-Aid. But "bin Ladenism," he argues, like other nihilistic movements, is ultimately doomed to fail. Lest you take any comfort from this assertion, he is then quick to remind us that "the war against superstition and the totalitarian mentality is an endless" one. It's a war Hitchens thinks is worth fighting, though, and this rousing Kindle Single serves as his call to arms. --Erin Kodicek

Product Details

  • File Size: 97 KB
  • Print Length: 15 pages
  • Publication Date: May 15, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0050W9FZO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,136 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was the author of Letters to a Young Contrarian, and the bestseller No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family. A regular contributor to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly and Slate, Hitchens also wrote for The Weekly Standard, The National Review, and The Independent, and appeared on The Daily Show, Charlie Rose, The Chris Matthew's Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, and C-Span's Washington Journal. He was named one of the world's "Top 100 Public Intellectuals" by Foreign Policy and Britain's Prospect.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

132 of 138 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been a big fan of Hitchens and have loved reading his articles on Slate.com. It hass been good to see that whatever toll his cancer is taking on him, his writing has not skipped a beat.

Hitchens does a very erudite take down of Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and his protectors in Pakistan. Hitchens gives a good biography of Bin Laden. I learned quite a bit that I hadn't known about his childhood and his time in Afghanistan. He compares Bin Laden's dream of an Islamic state to the desires of the Fascists in the 1940s and draws some very good comparisons. Hitchens, as always, doesn't pull any punches in condemning everyone alive or dead who had anything to do with the rise of Bin Laden or his place in the media as the face of Islamic extremism. He explains how the life and death of Bin Laden are actually small potatoes, compared to the fact that there are thousands that are of like mind that are still alive. Of course, another threat is that our politicians are completely unable to be up to the task of setting real priorities, or to speak in frank language about how people living in medieval Islamic kingdoms are not allowed to live lives as human beings and will live and die in slavery.

The most gratifying part of this short is that Hitchens got to write the obituary for this pathetic wretch. It was a perfect half-hour read and well worth the time and pocket change it took to enjoy it. Keep well Mr. Hitchens and may you live to write the obituary of many more of these evil thugs.
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Jim Tenuto VINE VOICE on May 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Christopher Hitchens. Polemicist. Certainly an apt description of one of times most talented, erudite, and perplexing wordsmiths. Hitchens has an uncanny ability to annoy just about everyone, but always to the delight of everyone else. His world view is perplexing, defying any convenient label. In his obituary on Osama bin Laden he not only skewers those in the West who hold the late al-Qaeda leader as a sort of latter-day Che Guevara, but properly frames the conflict. In this, his argument is not far afield from that of Victor Davis Hanson. This is not a "war against terrorism", this is a battle to preserve the Western way of life. bin Ladenism, in Hitchens' view, has succeeded in the same way that Hitler and Nazi fascism thrived. In buoying the hopes of the disenfranchised he has helped perpetuate abject poverty, the treatment of women as chattel, and an extreme fundamentalist religion.

In typical Hitchens fashion he pulls no punches, landing hard blows simultaneously against "enhanced interrogation techniques" and the misogynistic views of fundamental Islam. In this brief, yet pungent article, Hitchens posits that we have made more of bin Laden than he deserves and that bin Laden himself, far from being an educated mastermind of terror, made the grievous error of waking the sleeping giant, a misstep that caused not only his death and those of his followers, but countless innocents, often at the hands of al-Qaeda itself.

Christopher Hitchens, who became an American citizen following the tragedy of September 11th, is simply an American treasure.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Puterbaugh on May 18, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This essay gives the late Osama Bin Laden exactly what he had coming: the contempt and anger of the civilized world. This is Hitchens in top form, and is one of the best things he has ever written.

Highly recommended!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Susanna Hutcheson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In this single, Christopher Hitchens offers his thoughts on the leavings and lessons of Osama Bin Laden, from the horrific 9/11 event through Bin Laden's death.

I found the essay interesting yet contradictory. He says he had Bin Laden much on his mind since 9/11.

"I thought about the founder and leader of al-Qaeda almost every day, and either read something about him or wrote something about him almost every month, very persistently over the next decade."

From this writing he takes a great deal for this essay. He says he will likely continue to think about Bin Laden. "And, now that he is dead, the requirement to reflect upon him has by no means been cancelled."

Who was Osama Bin Laden in the eyes of Hitchens? "I thought then, and I think now, that Osama bin Laden was a near-flawless personification of the mentality of a real force: the force of Islamic jihad. And I also thought, and think now, that this force absolutely deserves to be called evil, and that the recent decapitation of its most notorious demagogue and organizer is to be welcomed without reserve."

To point out the needless horror and bloodshed caused by religions he says, "Internal discussions captured on disc and tape show bin Laden fretfully casting about for a way to duplicate the impact of 9/11, and again to take the war to 'the far enemy,' while many of his deputies argue for lower-cost and lower-risk 'operations' against softer targets nearer at hand; Afghan schoolgirls, perhaps, or Egyptian Christians."

In what I feel is the intent behind the essay, Hitchens says, "The war against superstition and the totalitarian mentality is an endless war." And indeed, it is.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Solly on May 20, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There's something truly rare about the writing style of Christopher Hitchens. It always seems impatient: never drawing out a point beyond necessity and wolloping opponents in the minimum words possible. Despite his efficiency, the prose is always entertaining and intelligently argued. But mostly, I think I love the disdain he has for idols and idolisers, lacerating them without compunction and making their egos bleed. Never willing to accept the common belief or easy assumption, he does not afford any person respect for their reputation alone. I think that this, above all, is what he will be remembered for.

The Enemy is a short essay written, not as the complete word on Osama bin Laden, but hopefully as an evocative and lasting final word. He takes aim, not only at bin Laden and his fanatical supporters, but those people who he sees as apologists or deniers. His ability to apply the sniff test to any opposing argument and work out whether its fishy is spectacular at any time, and well applied here. One could expect this may have something to do with Hitchens' lengthy experience as a regular correspondent in the middle east.

I suspect that cancer is driving Hitchens' into a furious period of writing and hope that above all, Hitchens lives through his current crisis and remains productive for many years to come. If this is not possible, one hopes that in the same manner the spectre of an impending death inspired George Orwell to hastily finish 1984 (in my opinion his finest work), illness may be the grain of sand that irritates this oyster to produce his pearl.
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