The first new collection of essays by Christopher Hitchens since 2004, Arguably offers an indispensable key to understanding the passionate and skeptical spirit of one of our most dazzling writers, widely admired for the clarity of his style, a result of his disciplined and candid thinking. Topics range from ruminations on why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men to the haunting science fiction of J.G. Ballard; from the enduring legacies of Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell to the persistent agonies of anti-Semitism and jihad.
Hitchens even looks at the recent financial crisis and argues for the enduring relevance of Karl Marx. The book forms a bridge between the two parallel enterprises of culture and politics. It reveals how politics justifies itself by culture, and how the latter prompts the former. In this fashion, Arguably burnishes Christopher Hitchens' credentials as - to quote Christopher Buckley - our "greatest living essayist in the English language."
©2011 Christopher Hitchens (P)2011 Hachette Audio
These essays are extremely varied in subject matter and tone and make a worthy addition to the last Hitchens works recorded for audio (usually by the author but, given his current medical condition, this seems not really feasible right now even if Hitch is, far and away, his own best reader). There are lots of political essays, but a whole lot of his extended literary essays (many from The Atlantic and Vanity Fair), which are often an extraordinary pleasure, as well as being exceedingly well-judged. I am a lunatic for books like this, and this is now one of my favorite Audible offerings (this past year or so, others along the same lines include Tony Judt's Reappraisals and Simon Callow's A Life in Pieces, which you need to check out if you go for responsible left wing politics and theatre history, which are two preoccupations of mine.). The four stars ratings are only because Simon Prebble is wonderful, but isn't Hitch and because I would have chosen a few different essays. Otherwise, this is a true five-star, highly recommended selection. The price is also great, considering how much you get.
Keep this sort of thing up, please.
This was my first exposure to Hitchens' writing and I was blown away. I have never come across another author whose skill with the English language left me shaking my head in wonder. His knowledge of literature is astounding and the ability to pull apart books and essays in reviews and then combine the contents with information from various sources and his personal experience is breathtaking.
Some of the content is heavy, reviewing authors from the 1920s and 30s while other essays focus on contemporary issues. You will likely need ready access to a dictionary and wikipedia to thoroughly understand some of the topics but several essays inspired me to go back and pick up some of the classic books of literature.
Some people may argue with his conclusions or disagree with his political views but I don't think anyone could argue with the incredible wordsmith power.
Simon Prebble, the narrator deserved extra credit as well. Phenomenal job. You'd think it was Hitchens reading his own book. Prebble delivers the difficult text with emotion and confidence - a pleasure to listen to.
It was definetly worth the credit and I've already picked up another Hitchens' tilte on Audible.
???Arguably??? is great but it is not of the ???god is Not Great??? genre; it's a choice selection of Christopher Hitchens??? own essays, and of a vaster scope than the global-fallout-from-religion that the 'god' title focuses on. It is riveting in just the same way, however, and the temptation to adopt Hitchens' lucid opinions as my own is also similar.
???Arguably??? covers a wild variety of topics. Some I may not have typically sought out but all are worth reading and for me, re-reading. It has introduced many intriguing new titles, authors and subjects for my to-read stack. I???ve kept the globe spinning and Wikipedia fired-up throughout; memorized a little of the Rubayat and seen Animal Farm acted out in many times and places. The political essays are more than a few ranks above my typical American understanding but my perceptions are a bit sharper for having read them anyway (and my position on torture is validated). His graphic, sumi-style images from his experiences in Viet Nam, Cuba, Pakistan, Iran and many more, are intense. While reading, (I also bought the print version for proper mulling over), I???ve lost my optimism for humankind a few times, and re-found it almost the same number.
If I had a complaint, it???s that, at 749 pages, it???s still too short. Thankfully, everything Hitchens has written is archived "somewhere". In all, ???Arguably??? is brilliant and it???s the perfect book for a reader who wants to level up a few.
This collection both challenged and entertained me. It was my first exposure to this cosmopolitan polymath and seems like a good primer. Being collected from 3 different magazines over a decade full of change, conflict and innovation broadens the scope of the book beyond most collections. The author discusses literature in his book reviews in the Atlantic, current affairs in Slate and social commentary in Vanity Fair. I think the Slate pieces were my favorite because they felt most genuine--the writing is less formal and the opinions more intense. There are many laugh out loud passages and many more "I've never considered it that way" moments.
The narration is spot on. Simon Prebble bites off and chews up the prose with just the right mix of confidence and humor. You get the sense that he really grasps what he is reading and not just performing a script.
Having just discovered him I am very upset that this will be his last book. However, he has been so prolific that there is little danger of ever exhausting his rich intellectual vein.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
Pure Hitchens; he throws lots of $hit here with little bull. Except for the "funny women" thing, which I'm not sure Hitchens actually meant as many have taken it, each essay is brilliant.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This is a really nice set of reviews and essays. The best is when he personally undergoes waterboarding. The worst part about this audio book is there are too many references I wanted to note to remember. The only way to effectively listen to this book is to be doing nothing else and have paper and pen handy, which kind of eliminates the usefulness of an audio version (for the sighted). I did not agree with everything I heard, but virtually everything was interesting or thought provoking. The narration was simply awesome.
I've been a fan of the good Mr. Hitchens for a few years now. Though being as young as I am means that I've only recently come to appreciate his essays. This worked well to help me hear many of those that came out when I was barely 11 years of age. Of the more recent ones, only ones from vanity fair were the ones I knew, so it was exciting to get to hear such a large and comprehensive selection.
The only thing I felt was off was mentioned in the review below(i.e. that Hitch wasn't the one to read this, but, as sick as he is, I understand.)
It just comes down to this. While I am a huge Hitchens fan and have enjoyed several of his other works, I just didn't give enough of a crap about people like John Updike, Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene to get through the middle of this very long work. Call me uncultured. I had to turn it off. That's the problem with audiobooks of collections of essays. They are, by definition, linear. And the table of contents is not sitting right there before your eyes. (A hint to Amazon and Audible: a clickable TOC might be a nice upgrade for the Audible app's functionality...) So if one hits a boring patch, it is far more likely that the listener will stop rather than skip ahead. Perhaps I will go forward and cherry pick some other bits of Hitchens to savor in the future, but as a whole, I doubt I will ever get through this beast in its entirety. RIP, sir. Your work and legacy are both intact. I'm just too unapologetically bourgeois to consume every single word of it.
Two things are remarkable about this audio book.
The first is the quality of the content. Hitchens' mind, evidently, possessed a voracious curiosity, an enormous capacity, and the gift of incisive synthesis. Additionally, he had the ability to articulate this combination with precision and delight.
The second is the rare, to me, ability of the narrator to match the clarity of the prose. He makes no attempt to clarify meaning, merely and intelligently allowing it to come through in the phrasing of the writer's sentences and the shapes of his paragraphs. The result is the clear emergence of both sense and the author's voice.
The listener is very fortunate to find both at once.
A fantastic set of essays, brilliantly delivered
I openly wept at the end- to realize the world's loss of this intellect
Report Inappropriate Content