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Mortality Hardcover – September 4, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
If you're familiar with Hitchens' writings, you'll certainly recognize the trenchant approach here to becoming a resident of "tumortown." In this brief book, composed of essays he wrote for Vanity Fair, Hitchens explains what it feels like to be dying, yet doesn't feel sorry for himself or for his lifestyle that may have contributed to his cancer. (His father died of the same cancer as well, so part may be genetic.)
You'll read this book in an hour or two, but you'll also want to come back to it from time to time. While the chapters are composed - these are articles, not journal entries - there is a spontaneity throughout them, as his condition worsens, and as hope seems to recede.
Hitchens again shows with his words that cut like scalpels that he was one of the finest voices of his generation, and we're not likely to see another like him for a very long time.
Others were less charitable for in some quarters at the onset of Hitchens illness produced a vicious form of schadenfreude not least amongst his many enemies in the Christian right where his strong opinions on religion had provoked and outraged those not prepared to countenance any debate. He quotes an opinion from an religious blog that viewed his throat cancer as "Gods revenge for him using his voice to blaspheme him".Read more ›
What makes this book worthy to add to your bookshelf is the final chapter, the unpublished scribblings of Hitchens which give us a window not only into his final thoughts, but perhaps how the master crafted his essays...first as an idea, then a polished quip or two. For me, these classic one-liners and Hitch-slaps are worth the price of the book. The final tribute, by his wife Carol, gives us more insight into the private man than he allowed himself in his memoir, Hitch-22. If there is one error, it was made by Hitchens himself, who lamented that he might not live to write the obituaries of his villains--Kissinger and Pope Benedict. In fact, he had already done so in his canon of work, from "The Trial of Henry Kissinger" to "god is Not Great." In these works, he managed to in fact, have the final word on Kissinger, Catholicism, and many other sacred cows that are "dead enough"--as he might have quipped. He now joins the pantheon--pardon the word--of past great critics, from Twain to Mencken. For the literate, he will always live on. Overall, A moving, swift read that will linger in your mind long after the last page.
Honestly, I feel bad docking the author's review on this...he wrote a great article. But I wish another reviewer had done the same and had pointed out the length (they may have more recently; I checked the reviews shortly after the book came out and didn't recheck before buying). I would not have bought the book had I noted the length - my mistake but I just didn't think a major publisher would do such a thing. I won't do it again.
To anyone wanting to read Mortality - it's touching and brilliant and deeply honest. A great read. But don't get the kindle edition!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This last emotional, unvarnished essay written about the very end of his life proves finally that Christopher Hitchens was indeed one of the most brilliant American essayists who... Read morePublished 9 days ago by richard j. turchetti
Many many losses of family and friends to cancer------Hitchens hits every point worth contemplating and, adds his derisive humor.Published 1 month ago by Simone Etoile
Very courageous book at end of his life with very good commentary by his wife.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Hitchens was wrong on several important things, but he was a brilliant man and a first-rate communicator. Read morePublished 1 month ago by A.G. Holdier
I purchased this book as a gift for my husband who is a great admirer of Hitchens. He read it in one sitting and finished teary eyed. He has raved about it ever since.Published 1 month ago by J. Perry
Have been following Hitchens writing for years, and this book was a disappointment. This really should have been a short magazine article, and not a book.Published 2 months ago by alice cooper's sister