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 bon vivant 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.
©2010 Christopher Hitchens (P)2010 Hachette
Well written and read by the author. Hitchens is certainly one of the most gifted writers of recent times and it turns out that he is also an excellent narrator. I am not a fan of autobiography however being a fan of Hitchens I found his book to be as engaging and entertaining as any work of fiction.
This should be required reading for the new organic farm raised supposed left as a text book of what the movement used to be about - joining, literally moving somewhere and participating in, the struggles of working people for emancipation. Hitchens has waded pen first into every one of these struggles of the 20th century that he could, and gives first hand accounts of several. A real warrior from before the left decided it would much rather feel good than do good. If he had been alive during the Spanish civil war, I feel sure his account of it would be remembered and mentioned alongside Homage to Catalonia.
Hitchens account of his mum is a moving and beautiful tribute but I enjoyed his account of his father (the Commander) even more. Here is a glimpse of a class of people completely disappeared from the earth - those decent working class men employed in the defense of the old Empire and later in the defense of civilization itself, their legendary stoicism, bravery and honor, their sacrifices that helped bring the world back from the brink of apocalypse, and their ultimate betrayal and ruin.
Possessed of a smooth, deep and rich voice, the legendary Hitchens baritone Christopher shares with his bother Peter is musical in an old English elocution way that is rare today. Watch out for the lilt of his delivery as there are pronounced volume swells and trail-offs. Some of this is playing to the crowd - his accent, for example, is pronouncedly British upper class, which he was careful not to use when addressing a British audience, preferring a more naturally clipped delivery without the upward trailing vowels, but of course Americans love this sort of thing, so forgive him the snooty delivery. It is a bit odd though to hear deliciously nasty things about Prince Charles coming from someone trying to sound rather more like him than not.
Lest you find cause for jest in a paunchy bourgeois bohemian with a pronouncedly aristocratic British accent, and slightly the worse off for drink, claiming Marxist credentials, its worth noting that Hitchens personally knew Michael Chertoff, then head of the Department of Homeland Security when he applied for American citizenship. Rather than speeding his own induction, he advocated for those of his colleagues and friends suffering various indignities at the hands of this odious bureaucracy. This and other moving examples illustrate the Hitch's unerring instinct for the defense of the powerless.
How lucky for us that he managed to get this done before his untimely passing. Leftist memoirs tend to be sordid affairs. This is anything but. Well done. The Hitch is greatly missed.
Having read the book and hearing about the death of this great intellectual giant I had to hear the voice of the man. Great read and listening to one of the greatest modern intellectuals of our time is a great joy.
Note:This review is written by Jackie, Paul"s wife.
What a pleasurable experience it is to listen to Christopher as narrator. I feel as though he is talking directly to me - the mark of a great communicator. I agree with Christopher when he advises the reader to sit down quietly and listen very attentively as the author tells his story.
I enchance the great joy of listening to Christopher by wearing my Bose QuietComfort 15 earphones which help deepen my concentration carrying me through difficult parts.
I have the good fortune of being a member of Audible.com and am considered a serious listener these past 10 years. "Hitch 22; a Memoir " is simply nonpareil. I love this book so well that I want to buy a copy and read along as I listen to Hitch for the 4th time, lest I missed something.
Christopher captured my attention right from the start and carried me through the vicissitudes of his larger than life story with deep emotion and debth of knowledge. He is very expressive and genuine. He never flinches even while recounting intimate details. This is both an admirable and endearing performance.
In the chapter about his beloved mother, Yvonne, Christopher suffers deep and profound anguish when he realizes that he missed Yvonne's telephone calls which he humbly states "might have made a difference. "
Christopher has inspired me to write my Memoir.
My children won"t sit still long enough to hear my story either.
My love and appreciation to Christopher for his courage to see this multi-media project through.
I regard this work as his chef-d'oeuvre.
May I look forward to yet another delectable audible feast?
I'm a fan of Christopher Hitchens. Someone that well read with an intellect so vast commands my respect and admiration. So it is not with a little sadness to report how uninspiring and tedious I found most of his memoir. Perhaps it's the lackluster way he narrates his own life story; almost like reading an owner's manual or a recipe. His style, so effective in debate and interview, doesn't work here. The first third of the book is quite interesting and revealing but the story soon bogs down with endless anecdotes and experiences which lose any drama and import they might have had with his detached reading. And that's a shame considering the people he's known and the life he's had.
On Christopher Hitchens' memoir, *Hitch 22*. I appreciate that many of his life's epiphanies come from books. Mine did and do too. And I also appreciate the honest chronicle of his experiences in a English boarding school. Plus, his European perspective of American politics during the 60's and 70's is enlightening. However, his constant reminders of his superior intelligence are distracting and off-putting, and his choice to read his own memoir is ill-advised. His lack of inflection and sometimes jerky pacing force the reader to work at discerning sentence endings and points of emphasis.
I had already read the book and listened to the audio version before purchasing the audible version. I decided that I wanted to have all of Hitchens' audio books (specifically those he narrated himself) at the push of a button. So this became a must-buy. As ably as some of his other works have been treated by other narrators, there is simply no replacing that voice. Having discovered the brilliance of Hitchens only after his death, my dismay will only ever be slightly assuaged by my gluttonous consumption of the gloriously copious body of work he has left behind.
With my slight case of hero-worship now safely if embarrassingly out of the way, I can now provide a wholly inadequate review of the actual content. His voice provides an extra level of detail as compared to the written word. And although it is true that perhaps only a fellow Hitchensien, perhaps also "full of brio and self-confidence", will find the details of his life as interesting as I did, his wit and delivery make the journey thoroughly engaging even for those who [wrongly] don't count him amongst the most powerful intellectuals and orators of our time. (I know, I promised my excess of reverence and veneration were over--I lied!)
I particularly enjoy best the pseudo-monotone he sometimes employs, often to hilarious effect. I think he could have stood in for any Python sketch without missing a beat. The content is captivating, and the delivery impeccable. Buy this audible book, you won't regret it.
Although Hitchens had an exciting life
I found myself tuning out mentally. deep ponderous enunciation just did not keep me involved.
I would say that the text version of the book might be better, as references can easily be looked up. Hitchens maintains his charm, but this narrative was rather rambling, and he didn't entertain, "the juicy bits" as much as I would've liked; much of it could be discovered through other research, besides personal anecdotes and snippets that wouldn't normally be uncovered, so it's definitely worth it to listen to the man himself, even if it isn't as revealing as would be wanted.
Yes, he is very clean and precise, and he recommends or brings to light so many events, people, and perspectives that it can become overwhelming at times to keep them in line - albeit a wonderful sort of overwhelmed, and then he pulls it back and becomes more of a narrator, which is nice. His writing is of great form and substance.
I thought the delving into bisexuality was interesting and the pieces about his love of Orwell were fine. He really had quite... almost too much of a life jam-packed with travel. The part in the beginning about his mother is overbearingly vivid at one point; it was lovely.
It forced me into a branch of research I wouldn't have done otherwise, a grand exploration of history and modern characters of whom I had no idea.
I love just a few things... Family, Drumming, Baseball, and Intellect.
Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography
I just love his voice and am thankful he recorded this memoir so future generations can hear in his own words what made this great man develop into the juggernaut he would become.
The Making of a Juggernaut of Reason
I would listen to the book through a headset, Christopher (he hated the shrinking of his name to Chris) using inflection in his voice to convey meaning and feeling. Some of the inflections are drastic and can get lost in a room with ambient noise.
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