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The Quotable Hitchens: From Alcohol to Zionism--The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens Paperback – May 10, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


Vanity Fair, May 2011
Quotable Hitchens presents a cavalcade of Vanity Fair’s notorious provocateur-in-chief Christopher Hitchens’s finest flaming arrows, mud balls, and political grenades.”

Times Literary Supplement, UK, 3/18/11
“Without troubling to do the research, you could safely say that Hitchens, formerly the TLS’s American correspondent, has a view on everything. Now you can do the research.”
Kirkus Reviews, 5/10/11
“The most memorable of Hitchens’ work in an alphabetized guide to all things Hitch.”
New York Journal of Books, 5/10/11
“The book is great fun, whether sampled by dipping in or swallowed whole and digested slowly, as a snake might do…The Quotable Hitchens is and will remain an excellent means by which those of us who have long valued his work can celebrate it at a moment’s notice and those new to his work now have a new source of material for their Facebook Page or for emblazoning on T-shirts.”
Hudson Valley News, 5/14/11
“A nice book for the bedside table—my copy is already getting dog- eared…The most scathing, inflammatory, hilarious and (fill in the blank) commentaries on life in all its manifestations.”
Forbes Magazine, 6/2/11
 “[O]ne of those books that you plan to devote five minutes to but end up burning two hours. It’s a perfect summer read—you can pick it up and put it down as you quaff martinis and roll around the beach like Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster in From Here to Eternity.
The Economist, 6/1/11
 “[T]his book is a gleeful array of biting quips, twisty barbs and some disarmingly well-turned phrases….the book is amusing, and a poignant reminder of the man’s rare talents.”
Buffalo News, 5/29/11
“[S]plendiferous compendium of Hitchens.”
Washington Times, 5/24/11
 “At first glance, the book reminds one of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, but this volume is something more personal, more outre and more funny. Smartly organized by subject, it is a book to be enjoyed both as a long visit with the incomparable social critic and as a quick reference.”
Los Angeles Times, 5/22/11
“A collection of gem-like insights pared from the public intellectual and author’s many books and other writings.”
New Statesman, 5/23/11
“It often seems as if Christopher Hitchens has spent his life writing and speaking with a collection such as this in mind.”, 6/12/11
“Over 300 pages of…verbal gold…Anyone interested in the art of turning a good phrase in the English language will want to give this volume a look.”
American Thinker, 6/13/11
“It's a stimulant to the mind and a tonic to the spirit. Anthony Weiner should read it…while in rehab.”
Word magazine (UK), July 2011
“Slings, arrows, withering one-liners—the immaculate quotes of Christopher Hitchens have been fondly anthologized…The Quotable Hitchens [is] a 300-odd-page chrestomathy of provocation, comedy and-all seeing fury.”

Los Angeles Times, 7/7/11
“It makes for easy reading or perusing. Hitchens devotees will be most rewarded. But others, particularly curious types who haven’t paid Hitchens much attention, can treat the book as a tip sheet.”

Johannesburg Times, 7/18/11
“Look out for The Quotable Hitchens: From Alcohol to Zionism…which does what it says on the box.”


American History, October 2011
“[Hitchens is] charming, inflammatory, brilliant, and abrasive.”

The Economist (blog)
“A display of the highest order of the potency and salability of pithiness…A gleeful array of biting quips, twisty barbs and some disarmingly well-turned phrases.”


About the Author

Christopher Hitchens is the author of bestselling memoir Hitch-22 and lives in Washington, D.C.

Windsor Mann has been an editor at the Washington Times and a researcher for several best-selling authors. He is a writer and lives in Washington, D.C.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Original edition (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306819589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306819582
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

114 of 118 people found the following review helpful By B Waters on May 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first thing to understand about this book is that it's not really conducive to long periods of reading. As every fan knows, brevity is not Hitch's strong suit - in fact, a large part of the joy one gets from reading his works comes from his thorough explanations and fascinating side-notes. After becoming familiar with his writing style, it's almost unnerving to try and read this book for long periods of time. It starts to feel terse and manic. It's not because the quotes aren't worthwhile; each one is a classic gem, worthy of its reprinting here. But before long, the overload of short, brilliant quotes feels disjointed. It perfectly captures Mr. Hitchens' wit, but by implication can't include his level of depth or substance.

With that in mind, this book works perfectly in short bursts. And its alphabetical indexing perfectly divides it into 26 neat sections. I recommend reading one section a day. It feels like just the right amount. And of course, this makes an incredibly useful desk reference. If you ever need a sharp, intellectual quote to open a research paper or argument, this will become your favorite source. I've already used it twice in this way. It's easy to start on a high note when you can quickly find a quote on almost any topic you can think of, from one of the sharpest writers of the modern era.

One of the things that surprised me about this book is the extremely broad use of his quotes, in regards to both subject matter and time. The sections on "god", "Iraq War", and "Smoking" are shorter than you may expect, and there are dozens of topics you wouldn't expect, like "Patterns", "Euphemisms", and "Tennis". And the quotes themselves are evenly spread over his entire career.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Saganite VINE VOICE on May 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is the mark of a truly superlative aphorist--which Hitchens, along with being our age's consummate rhetorician, clearly is--that one finds oneself laughing at or being impressed by a quote with which one in no way agrees.

"Quotable Hitchens" is a master class in how to express strong opinions in ways that cannot be forgotten.

While there are topics covered in the book that not only do I not care much about, but know even less about, each quotation gives some special insight into this strange contrarian's brilliant mind, and for me at least, holds up ideas to be examined in different lights.

I find it impossible to write about Hitchens without lionizing him, even though I think he can be terribly mistaken about things. It's because he's like an uncle I would have wanted as a teen--able to spit in convention's eye with such deadly accuracy that it wins the admiration of even the spit-upon, and so adept with a turn of phrase that even his most erudite opposition (think Hitchens vs. Blair: Be It Resolved Religion Is a Force for Good in the World (The Munk Debates)) can be rocked back on its heels.

This book preserves some of the sharpest lines Hitchens has spoken or written, and taken as a whole, they help explain why Hitchens says he's never so happy as when he's hunched over a book or typewriter. For him, language is the ultimate playground.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By 'amerye' on May 6, 2011
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Approved by the author; chosen & edited by another; this still does the trick of introducing newcomers (are there any intelligent readers out there who haven't read Christoher Hitchens?) to our greatest prose stylist since George Orwell. For the others of us who are, as they say down the road in Hollywood, huge fans,they'll find a stocking stuffer, a little treat, a jeu d'esprit in this new release. Taken in the aggregate, quotes from his many books, numerous articles, & constant interviews -- this is a stunning reminder of the amazing body of work banged out on two fingers on a certain little typewriter. This machine, along with its owner, has been all over the world, commenting on more political situations than would be thought possible. Never at a loss for words, or rather for the words, his prose is elegant, funny, honest. If you like books of quotations as I do, this is a fun one. Hitchens on a range of subjects, rather eccentrically chosen but still covers the map -- though more on Bill Clinton than on Women (unfair, I wanted to hear what he thinks), nothing on Marriage, or Oxford, (C.H. is a famous son of Balliol College) the writing process, or a few more wished-for topics. Never mind, there'll be another one...

Hoping that Mr. Hitchens is recovering from his health problems, and resting (at least on his laurels) and can come back to my small town of Claremont in big L.A. to visit our local college. Hearing him speak last year was a most acute pleasure - who would know English could sound so beautiful & just?
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Marley on August 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Quotable Hitchens is a brief collection of (mostly) brief pontifications on a wide variety of subjects and personalities. Of course, Hitchens never fails to amuse or antagonize readers depending on their alignment to the authors POV. This volume is perfect to carry along during a three to four hour flight or to keep in your briefcase when needing to kill some time between Power Point presentations. One can even play the "What Would Christopher Say?" game - since the book is alphabetized, you can preconceive what Hitchens has written about Rupert Murdoch, Hillary Clinton, Creationism or Socialism to see if your imagination comes close to matching his acerbic commentary and rapier wit. Not likely, but be assured, you'll enjoy these quotations.
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