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Publisher's Summary

Art of Mentoring series

In the book that he was born to write, provocateur and best-selling author Christopher Hitchens inspires future generations of radicals, gadflies, mavericks, rebels, angry young (wo)men, and dissidents. Who better to speak to that person who finds him or herself in a contrarian position than Hitchens, who has made a career of disagreeing in profound and entertaining ways.

This book explores the entire range of "contrary positions" - from noble dissident to gratuitous pain in the butt. In an age of overly polite debate bending over backward to reach a happy consensus within an increasingly centrist political dialogue, Hitchens pointedly pitches himself in contrast. He bemoans the loss of the skills of dialectical thinking evident in contemporary society. He understands the importance of disagreement - to personal integrity, to informed discussion, to true progress - heck, to democracy itself.

Epigrammatic, spunky, witty, in your face, timeless and timely, this book is everything you would expect from a mentoring contrarian.

©2009 Christopher Hitchens (P)2020 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about Letters to a Young Contrarian

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Independent Thinkers & Those Seeking Truth

For those disgusted and exhausted with the extreme anti-intellectualism of party politics, this is for you. Speak your mind or you will lose it. The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.

There are days when I miss my old convictions as if they were an amputated limb. But in general I feel better, and no less radical, and you will feel better too, I guarantee, once you leave hold of the doctrinaire and allow your chainless mind to do its own thinking.

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The pleasure of being contrarian

I remember Susan Sontag very bravely in front of an audience, that was heavily turkish, insisting on parallel with Armenian Genocide. #ChristopherHitchens #LettersToAYoungContrarian

In the 20th century, which was forced to invent the term of #Genocide, the ottoman turks exterminated Christian Armenians under the cover of the war and in occupied territories, where there were few independent witnesses. #ChristopherHitchens #LettersToAYoungContrarian

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Awesome!

It feels like he’s talking to you. Such a great man of integrity. I recommend for anyone who enjoys logic, reason and well read authors.

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Hitch at his best

Well written and eloquently articulate - everything you’d expect from Christopher Hitchens. I highly recommend it to anyone that is open to objective reasoning and the notion of looking at our world from different perspectives.

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  • Leo
  • 06-27-21

enjoyed this

as far as i can judge it, authentic, eloquent, intelligent, without any attempts for political correctness, with a good dose of humour - the book is worth your time.

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  • Steve
  • 10-30-21

Outstanding

A pleasure to listen to and reflect on. Still a highly relevant and important work.

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  • Nigel Jarvis
  • 10-10-21

How fortunate that Hitchens left this legacy!

A rich and densely packed collection of advisory letters that prod and poke in all sorts of useful directions.

As a student of history, I’ve often wished that some of the great thinkers of old had provided us with a larger window into their minds.

Fortunately, Hitchens has done just that!

While the stunning quality of his prose and staggering breadth of his knowledge can easily leave you feeling quite inadequate, his purpose is clearly to encourage each reader to be a better version of themselves and thereby make the world a better place.

I also know from reading other works by Hitchens that he felt a similar sense of inadequacy after reading literary giants that preceded him (eg. Nabokov) and yet he continued to write…so I guess there’s still hope for the rest of us!

If I had one critique, it would be that an overly critical mindset can be stifling to those who want to try a make a difference for good (the oft quoted “Man in the Arena” excerpt comes to mind). However, I dare say that Hitchens would agree that you don’t have to have all of your feathers perfectly preened before you start flapping your wings and take your first tentative flight. Preening is a lifelong practice that will help you soar to higher heights in time, but you have to start somewhere, so “flap away” despite the fact that you might not soar like Hitchens…yet!

Perhaps, the best compliment to any author is that a reader wants to read his/her work again, which is what I plan to do now! In fact, it’s the sort of book that you can read annually, as a tonic of the mind. Enjoy!

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  • Jonathan Podborsek
  • 03-13-21

Enlightening in a Hitch kind of way

And exquisite exposé of how fight on both sides of the battle at the same time. Wish I had read it years ago.