Love, Property, & Hitchens


Via Arts & Letters Daily comes this New Statesman review of Christopher Hitchens' new collection, Love, Poverty and War:

Many left-wing opponents of the Iraq war will therefore want this collection to be bad: full of windbaggery, loose judgements, bad writing, and so on. Hitchens was never that good, was he? We on the left can manage without him, can't we? Alas, no. Hitchens is just too damn good. You will find here the most brilliant anti-capital punishment piece you have ever read; the most thoughtful piece on Israel and anti-Semitism; a marvellously vivid report on North Korea ("I found a class of tiny Koreans solemnly learning Morse code . . . Nobody has told them that the international community abandoned Morse two years ago"); a hilarious account of how Hitchens gave evidence to a Vatican commission on the beatification of Mother Teresa; and a gloriously rude demolition of Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11.

Whole thing (which, the passage above notwithstanding, concludes, "When we needed him most, the old Hitchens passed away and was replaced by a new one, shorn of political subtlety and insight") here.

Buy the collection here.

Read Hitchens' great Reason interview, done just before 9/11 and full of astonishing revelations (e.g., he wanted Thatcher to win, he dug capitalism for its creative destruction, etc.) here.

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  1. I got it. It is good.

    On this topic, has anyone checked out his bio of Thomas Jefferson yet?

  2. Yeah, pretty good, though since it is a brief life it hasn’t as much meat as one might like

  3. He’s a brilliant essayist, maybe the best in the English language now. But I think his longer works tend to drag. His book on Orwell was weak, so I’m not expecting great things from the Jefferson bio.

  4. The new book’s highlights include fine pieces on Byron, Borges, Joyce, and “Lucky Jim.” Not to mention a surprisingly astute (and unsurprisingly witty) takedown of Christopher Ricks’ Dylan book.

    For a full dose of Hitchens as literary critic, pick up “Unacknowledged Legislation.”

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