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Hitch-22: A Memoir Paperback – June 3, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Hitchens works as a book reviewer for "The Atlantic", a political and culture commentator for both "Slate" and "Vanity Fair", a "talking head" on too many news shows to mention, a "semi-professional atheist" ('God is not Great'), an all around activist and speaker for the causes he deems important, and I'm sure a half dozen other roles I'm not aware of.
I defy anyone to agree with every single one of the comments below:
- Margaret Thatcher is kind of sexy
- Communism is good
- Pre-Glasnost Russia was bad
- Gore Vidal is full of it
- God does not exist
- Henry Kissigner is best viewed as a Mass Murderer
- George H.W. Bush knew that Iraq would attack Kuwait well beforehand
- The USA was justified in attacking both Iraq and Afghanistan post 9-11
- Bertie and Wooster are hilarious
- Mother Teresa was a sadist
- The USA is a great country
- British Boarding Schools are twisted
Well, we can probably all agree on the last one, but see what I mean? He does indeed "contain volumes", and his views have shifted over time - to the right in many cases, as he admits.
His memoir does not "explain" who Hitchens is, nor does he intend to. What he succeeds in doing admirably and engagingly is to give his perspectives on the people he's known, and the experiences he's had, not necessarily in chronological order.Read more ›
Described as a memoir, this book covers a lot of territory. Journalist/writer Hitchens details his childhood, family, life in English boarding school, college years at Oxford, dalliances with socialism, political and religious views(though an affirmed atheist), career as a war correspondent and author, and encounters with the famous and infamous. Along the way, he diverges into his parents indifferent marriage, his mother's suicide, and the discovery of his mother's jewish lineage years after her death.
While I thought the book in its entirety was interesting, some sections appealed to me more than others. Hitchens had an early encounter with Bill Clinton and was convinced that Clinton was possibly an operative reporting on american students anti-war activities to the CIA while at Oxford. He also claimed that he was probably present when Clinton didn't 'inhale' marijuana. Another section delved into researching his jewish heritage. And then there was his take on the Iraq War. The book was loaded with observations and insites that were interesting and at times deadly serious. Whether I agreed with him or not, he presented interesting points of view that reflected his varied life experiences.
Initially, my impression of Hitchen's writing style seemed to be more essayist than memoirist. However, it quickly became apparent that this was his story regardless of references to history, literature, and momentary divergences (such as the purpose and usage of the acronym WASP). While his text might at times seem elevated to the average reader, it took little time for me to get used to it. Often quite humorous, he managed to keep my attention.
His gift of the English language and the accompanying wit were established early on. Hitchen writes as he speaks, with passion and drama that may turn some people, especially those with a weak understanding of advanced English grammar, off. His life unfolds as the post-war wars of England in the 1950s and 1960s, giving this memoir a good example of a personal history of the times.
What struck me is the style of his writing. He writes from a deeply psychological perspective, as if everyone or everything around him is not quite in his senses. He maintains a certain distance, an aloofness, from all the events, but perhaps that is from the jobs he has held over the years as fighter for oppressed African states. Other parts, like chapter "Chris or Christopher" (pages 93-109) read like a political thriller in his often colorful and eyebrow-raising verbiage. He didn't like Bill Clinton ("the habitual and professional liar") even in his Oxford days and he certainly had no respect for American politicians during the Vietnam war.
It really should come as no surprise that he is an atheist, a left-leaner (International Socialist as he calls himself) after the life he's had; his stories alone carry the explanation. But I don't blame him.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The first section of the book describing his early life grabbed me. From there the book becomes a sort of hyper-literate stream of consciousness, sometimes hilarious, but mostly... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dr. Wigglesworth
Great read. He's by far my favorite liberal. Despite the fact that I'm pretty sure he exaggerated his influence on the Solidarity movement in Poland (which makes me wonder about... Read morePublished 2 months ago by BethM
Verbal masturbation. Poor Hitchens, like so many helpless others, very much a product of England's private school and elitist university system. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Entertaining autobiography from a man who lived and wrote about a very full life. This book challenges your intellect and will keep you thinking.Published 2 months ago by Dan Komansky
A good insight into a brilliant mind. The reader needs to maintain some perspective past Hitch's strong opinions and conclusions. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Peter Blum
Disappointed in his rambling. He needed a good editor who would not have been intimidated by him.Published 4 months ago by Hannah Rosenblatt