Over the course of his 60 years, Christopher Hitchens has been a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom. He has been both a socialist opposed to the war in Vietnam and a supporter of the U.S. war against Islamic extremism in Iraq. He has been both a foreign correspondent in some of the world's most dangerous places and a legendary with an unquenchable thirst for alcohol and literature. He is a fervent atheist, raised as a Christian, by a mother whose Jewish heritage was not revealed to him until her suicide.
In other words, Christopher Hitchens contains multitudes. He sees all sides of an argument. And he believes the personal is political.
This is the story of his life, lived large.
From the #1 best-selling author of , a provocative and entertaining guided tour of atheist and agnostic thought through the ages—with never-before-published pieces by Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Christopher Hitchens continues to make the case for a splendidly godless universe in this first-ever gathering of the influential voices—past and present—that have shaped his side of the current (and raging) God/no-god debate. With Hitchens as your erudite and witty guide, you'll be led through a wealth of philosophy, literature, and scientific inquiry, including generous portions of the words of Lucretius, Benedict de Spinoza, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Mark Twain, George Eliot, Bertrand Russell, Emma Goldman, H. L. Mencken, Albert Einstein, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and many others well-known and lesser known. And they’re all set in context and commented upon as only Christopher Hitchens—“political and literary journalist extraordinaire” ().
Atheist? Believer? Uncertain? No matter: will speak to you and engage you every step of the way.
In a frank expose of the Teresa cult, Hitchens details the nature and limits of one woman’s mission to the world’s poor. He probes the source of the heroic status bestowed upon an Albanian nun whose only declared wish is to serve God. He asks whether Mother Teresa’s good works answer any higher purpose than the need of the world’s privileged to see someone, somewhere, doing something for the Third World. He unmasks pseudo-miracles, questions Mother Teresa’s fitness to adjudicate on matters of sex and reproduction, and reports on a version of saintly ubiquity which affords genial relations with dictators, corrupt tycoons and convicted frauds.
On June 8, 2010, while on a book tour for his bestselling memoir, , Christopher Hitchens was stricken in his New York hotel room with excruciating pain in his chest and thorax. As he would later write in the first of a series of award-winning columns for , he suddenly found himself being deported “from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady.” Over the next eighteen months, until his death in Houston on December 15, 2011, he wrote constantly and brilliantly on politics and culture, astonishing readers with his capacity for superior work even in extremis.
Throughout the course of his ordeal battling esophageal cancer, Hitchens adamantly and bravely refused the solace of religion, preferring to confront death with both eyes open. In this riveting account of his affliction, Hitchens poignantly describes the torments of illness, discusses its taboos, and explores how disease transforms experience and changes our relationship to the world around us. By turns personal and philosophical, Hitchens embraces the full panoply of human emotions as cancer invades his body and compels him to grapple with the enigma of death.
Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2012:
Curious and prolific to the end, combative writer Christopher Hitchens leaves us with a posthumously published analysis of his dying days. is the anti-: Stripping away semantics and sentimentality, Hitchens treats his cancer as he would any other topic—with dogged inquisitiveness and brutal honesty. Which makes it all the more poignant when he begins losing his voice, his “freedom of speech,” and sinks deeper into his “year of living dyingly.” Funny, smart, irreverent, and surprisingly moving, this lucid, unflinching end-of-life journey through “Tumorville” is brave and powerful stuff. The unfinished jottings that comprise the final pages are a heartbreaking display of a mind that never stopped till the very end.
“Nothing sharpened Christopher Hitchens’ mind like Cancer. He wrote the best, most piercing, most clarifying prose of his career as he faced down the specter of his own demise. As he dealt with fatigue and nausea, with the anger, disgust and frustration that must accompany what he knew was a death sentence, Hitch poured it all into words as painfully honest as they were hilarious.”
“Among the many things that made Hitchens unique was his precision of thought and expression. What made him rare were his courage and tenacity. He was fearless in the field and relentless in his defense of the defenseless with that mightiest of swords—his pen. Judging from his final essays, he was also fearless in the fact of death.”
"I have no doubt that Christopher Hitchens will have an afterlife. As one of the most original and provocative writers of his generation, his words will continue to mesmerize, incite, confound, and entertain."
“His unworldly fluency never deserted him, his commitment was passionate, and he never deserted his trade. He was the consummate writer, the brilliant friend. In Walter Pater's famous phrase, he burned ‘with this hard gem-like flame.’ Right to the end.”
“A seeker of truth to the end, and a deservedly legendary witness against the hypocrisy of the ever-sactimonious establishment. What zeal this man had to eviscerate the conceits of the powerful, whether their authority derived from wealth, the state, or a claim to the ear of the divine.”
“Reading and responding to the Hitch is ceaselessly inspiring and seldom less than exhilarating. More, it is an instigatory experience: it compels you to get involved more deeply with the world around and inside you. Reading any worthwhile writer is an act of celebration, a shared reaction to the act of creation. More, it is an exercise in how to write, read, think and live.”
In the tradition of Bertrand Russell’s and Sam Harris’s recent bestseller, , Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope’s awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix.