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Christopher Hitchens, political journalist, cultural critic, public intellectual and self-described contrarian, is one of the most controversial and prolific writers of his generation. His most recent book, God Is Not Great, was on the New York Times bestseller list in 2007 for months. Like his hero, George Orwell, Hitchens is a tireless opponent of all forms of cruelty, i Christopher Hitchens, political journalist, cultural critic, public intellectual and self-described contrarian, is one of the most controversial and prolific writers of his generation. His most recent book, God Is Not Great, was on the New York Times bestseller list in 2007 for months. Like his hero, George Orwell, Hitchens is a tireless opponent of all forms of cruelty, ideological dogma, religious superstition and intellectual obfuscation. Once a socialist, he now refers to himself as an unaffiliated radical. As a thinker, Hitchens is perhaps best viewed as post-ideological, in that his intellectual sources and solidarities are strikingly various (he is an admirer of both Leon Trotsky and Kingsley Amis) and cannot be located easily at any one point on the ideological spectrum. Since leaving Britain for the United States in 1981, Hitchens thinking has moved in what some see as contradictory directions, but he remains an unapologetic and passionate defender of the Enlightenment values of secularism, democracy, free expression, and scientific inquiry. The global turmoil of the recent past has provoked intense dispute and division among intellectuals, academics, and other commentators. Hitchens writing during this time, particularly after 9/11, is an essential reference point for understanding the genesis and meaning of that turmoil#151;and the challenges that accompany it. This volume brings together Hitchens most incisive reflections on the war on terror, the war in Iraq, and the state of the contemporary Left. It also includes a selection of critical commentaries on his work from his former leftist comrades, a set of exchanges between Hitchens and various left-leaning interlocutors (such as Studs Terkel, Norman Finkelstein, and Michael Kazin), and an introductory essay by the editors on the nature and significance of Hitchens contribution to the world of ideas and public debate. In response, Hitchens provides an original afterword, written for this collection.p pWhatever readers might think about Hitchens, he remains an intellectual force to be reckoned with. And there is no better place to encounter his current thinking than in this provocative volume.


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Christopher Hitchens, political journalist, cultural critic, public intellectual and self-described contrarian, is one of the most controversial and prolific writers of his generation. His most recent book, God Is Not Great, was on the New York Times bestseller list in 2007 for months. Like his hero, George Orwell, Hitchens is a tireless opponent of all forms of cruelty, i Christopher Hitchens, political journalist, cultural critic, public intellectual and self-described contrarian, is one of the most controversial and prolific writers of his generation. His most recent book, God Is Not Great, was on the New York Times bestseller list in 2007 for months. Like his hero, George Orwell, Hitchens is a tireless opponent of all forms of cruelty, ideological dogma, religious superstition and intellectual obfuscation. Once a socialist, he now refers to himself as an unaffiliated radical. As a thinker, Hitchens is perhaps best viewed as post-ideological, in that his intellectual sources and solidarities are strikingly various (he is an admirer of both Leon Trotsky and Kingsley Amis) and cannot be located easily at any one point on the ideological spectrum. Since leaving Britain for the United States in 1981, Hitchens thinking has moved in what some see as contradictory directions, but he remains an unapologetic and passionate defender of the Enlightenment values of secularism, democracy, free expression, and scientific inquiry. The global turmoil of the recent past has provoked intense dispute and division among intellectuals, academics, and other commentators. Hitchens writing during this time, particularly after 9/11, is an essential reference point for understanding the genesis and meaning of that turmoil#151;and the challenges that accompany it. This volume brings together Hitchens most incisive reflections on the war on terror, the war in Iraq, and the state of the contemporary Left. It also includes a selection of critical commentaries on his work from his former leftist comrades, a set of exchanges between Hitchens and various left-leaning interlocutors (such as Studs Terkel, Norman Finkelstein, and Michael Kazin), and an introductory essay by the editors on the nature and significance of Hitchens contribution to the world of ideas and public debate. In response, Hitchens provides an original afterword, written for this collection.p pWhatever readers might think about Hitchens, he remains an intellectual force to be reckoned with. And there is no better place to encounter his current thinking than in this provocative volume.

30 review for Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left

  1. 5 out of 5

    Krishan

    Ok my earlier review sucked. Jen is probably right. The book contains Hitchens' essays on the war on 'terror' (or, the war on theocratic fascism, as he calls it), the Iraq war, the western politcal Left, and a selection of responses from western critics. What's most impressive here is how Hitchens accurately diagnoses the false assumptions and neuroses of political thinkers of all stripes. His summation of the common psychological features of European fascism and jihadism. The disturbing overlap b Ok my earlier review sucked. Jen is probably right. The book contains Hitchens' essays on the war on 'terror' (or, the war on theocratic fascism, as he calls it), the Iraq war, the western politcal Left, and a selection of responses from western critics. What's most impressive here is how Hitchens accurately diagnoses the false assumptions and neuroses of political thinkers of all stripes. His summation of the common psychological features of European fascism and jihadism. The disturbing overlap between the foreign policy agendas touted by the mainstream western Left and the far Right. The callous indifference of isolationists to the struggle against fascism. All of these things and more are there to be seen in political discourse, and once Christopher Hitchens exposes them, you cant help but notice them in discussions with friends and TV pundits. That is what makes the book valuable. As for the critical responses, most of them are just ad hominem attacks that do nothing against the arguments made by Hitchens. Surprisingly, many of his critics refused to let their pieces be included in the book including Noam Chomsky and Katha Pollitt!! Also, no one seems to be able to respond to Hitchens' claim the Iraq war has in fact been going on since 1991, and was merely interrupted by a protracted and unsustainable truce. I've yet to see this argument refuted anywhere. The most piercing criticism is that the WMD part of Hitchens argument for the Iraq war has changed since, but I'd have to do a side by side comparison to see if it's really true. Even if it were.... well just read the book. At the back of the book is a collection of 1 paragraph bios of the contributors, and I LOLed at one of them: Christopher Hitchens is Christopher Hitchens

  2. 4 out of 5

    Zachary

    An excellent study of Hitchens' views on terror, Iraq and the left as well a decent compendium of hapless critics that are nevertheless interesting. Of note is Noam Chomsky who pussied out and would not allow the editors of this book to publish his critique of Hitchens. This leaves us with just a short summery of his views. The editors did a good job of not only calling out Chomsky and for including a web link to his piece.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    A thorough going over, through article reprints, of the Hitchens position, counterbalanced with opponents pieces. The book brilliantly demonstrates the best and worst of both 'sides' and I wish that I'd read it when it was first published. I also wish there was more of the type of book out there, across a range of subjects.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Stieb

    Thus continues my long and tempestuous relationship with Hitch. If you thought that last sentence was self-involved and pretentious, pass on this book. This is a collection of essays by Hitch about the Left and Iraq. It documents his turn away from Leftist politics toward something...else. It also features replies by many of his critics and ex-friends. However, the volume suffers from poor editing, repetitive essays, and an overly long and to Hitchens as a defender or reason against the left. Som Thus continues my long and tempestuous relationship with Hitch. If you thought that last sentence was self-involved and pretentious, pass on this book. This is a collection of essays by Hitch about the Left and Iraq. It documents his turn away from Leftist politics toward something...else. It also features replies by many of his critics and ex-friends. However, the volume suffers from poor editing, repetitive essays, and an overly long and to Hitchens as a defender or reason against the left. Some of the essays are about literally nothing but personal feuds. Reminds me of Norman Podhoretz in the worst way. Hitch in this volume is right about one thing, wrong about another, and half right about a third. He is right about the left. He is right that the left has become reflexively anti-American and has completely lost perspective and balance about evil in the world. As he says, if you think Ashcroft and Osama are equally dangerous or bad, you are morally and empirically wrong. He rightfully blasts figures like Chomsky for opposing virtually any American use of force in the world and for their defense of illiberal regimes abroad. He particularly excoriates their response to 9/11, including the treatment of groups like AQ as anti-globalization entities reflecting somewhat reasonable demands. I share Hitch's frustration on this count on a daily basis. But. He is so wrong about Iraq it is crazy. Reading HItch's essays on IQ really make me doubt him as a scholar and ethicist of sorts. He is so fixated on this epic clash with democracy and liberalism's greatest enemies, so eager to see leftist critics humiliated, and so overcome with moral passion that he overlooks the evidence on WMD, al Qaeda, and Saddam even after it became clear he had no significant weapons is unconscionable. His continued justification of this invasion long after its rationales collapsed reveals an inflexible mind ready to bend and stretch the evidence to fit his preconceived ideas. This is truly the worst work I have read by Hitch, and it has to be connected to his stubborn, egotistic personality. Hitch also has some interesting comments about the nature of the Islamic threat. I encourage anyone on this matter to look at Paul Berman's writing on this matter, which is far more dispassionate, thorough, and informed. I think Hitch is basically right on the threat but pretty far off on how it can be countered. Overall, you get the impression from this book that there's nothing Hitch cares more about than winning arguments. He was truly a scion of the chattering class, spitting out so many ideas he simply could not always be right. I will continue to make time for some of his work, but his overly long and self-involved collection left me frequently bored and frustrated.

  5. 5 out of 5

    John

    "How shady it is that our modern leftists and peaceniks can detect fascism absolutely everywhere except when it is actually staring them in the face."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    I bought it already being familiar with is arguments. its a telling statement that while he had nothing to do with the assembling of the book, those whom he argued with at the time, including Chomsky a long time favorite of my leftie friends, refused to reprint their most strident attacks on him for siding, not with the Bush government, but with the Kurdish people against Saddam. Hitchens argument against this book boiled out to be: they failed to get the worst of my critics to reprint their wor I bought it already being familiar with is arguments. its a telling statement that while he had nothing to do with the assembling of the book, those whom he argued with at the time, including Chomsky a long time favorite of my leftie friends, refused to reprint their most strident attacks on him for siding, not with the Bush government, but with the Kurdish people against Saddam. Hitchens argument against this book boiled out to be: they failed to get the worst of my critics to reprint their words.

  7. 5 out of 5

    J. D. Kessey

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shaun

  9. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jodi Holliday

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth J Payne

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vivek

  13. 4 out of 5

    Raymond

  14. 5 out of 5

    Americanenglishexper

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cost

  16. 5 out of 5

    James McGarvey

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Avice Du Buisson

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nick Papaxanthos

  19. 5 out of 5

    James Richards

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Peloquin

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Marotta

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mohamed

  24. 5 out of 5

    David

  25. 4 out of 5

    Martinrobertjohn Hitchens

  26. 4 out of 5

    CKQ Malone

  27. 4 out of 5

    Paul Croft

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  29. 5 out of 5

    Clarissa North

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matt

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