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Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens Audiobook

Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens

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Publisher's Summary

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

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  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 07-10-15
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 07-10-15 Member Since 2012
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    "No saints or sacred cows are safe from Hitch."

    It is hard to not love Hitchens. Or hate him. God I miss him. He was one of those journalists and public intellectuals (yes, that is a tired phrase) that constantly made me feel I needed to up my game a bit. I would read a Hitchens article in Vanity Fair or Slate or about anywhere and realize that I hadn't read enough, thought enough, and certainly not crafted my thoughts well enough. Tail between my legs I would strive to do better. I didn't always agree with Hitchens, but reading him was like watching a master be masterly.

    A lot of these essays I've read before on the internet or in some glossy magazine profile. I was always amazed at the voracity of his appetite. He consumed books. He fed on ideas. He was a humanist at the very highest level of human. I don't mean that to sound like I'm worshiping him or unglued. He had his faults. Many of them. But his biases and bigotries were informed by his love of people and ideas. Often those who thought they were on his side would find him pounding at their door asking for an explanation or exposing their hypocrisy. He would attack sacred cows (Mother Theresa ... see what I did there?), pull down idols (Bill Clinton) and defend his sacred (free speech, life, liberty) with the savagery of a wild beast. He reminded me of some weird love child of George Orwell (doesn't every English public school educated journalist want to BE George Orwell's love child?) and Graham Greene. He was Orwell in his defense of the defenseless. He was Greene in his need to get out into the mix, the mess of the word/world and figure this shit out. What does this mean? How does this work? Why is this happening? These are questions that left no one safe. Not even friends (Martin Amis). And GODS help his enemies (Insert religous dogmatist here).

    Reading this selection of his later essays was like walking through a neighborhood I frequented a lot in my thirties. He was a major voice of my growing up. I would read Christopher Hitchens and Andrew Sullivan and wonder why we couldn't breed the same here in the US. I would watch him debate someone on YouTube and be amazed at how well he could do completely drunk. I miss the lush. I miss the brain. I miss Hitch.

    The only issue I have with the audo version of this book is the production. There were just a couple gltches. The chapters on Isaac Newton and Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall were braided together a bit. Other than that it was a near perfect read of a near perfect collection.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Gulf Breeze, FL, United States 12-01-15
    James Gulf Breeze, FL, United States 12-01-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Disappointingly unfinishable"

    I really liked some other Hitchens rants and really expected to like this big book of Hitchens' "MMmmmm I say oooold boiy, I don't much care for (insert whatever it is Hitchens just saw or heard here).." but it is the same rant over and over and over with a different subject. Narrator was good. I made it through nearly 7 hours before giving up. So repetitive. Had a few chuckles and learned a few interesting things. Maybe I can finish it some day. In any event, back to things that are engaging for now.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan 09-24-17
    Alan 09-24-17
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    "Left Us Too Soon"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I regret I did not discover the author until after his death from cancer. (Sixty?) Yes, 90% of reviews given audible are four or five stars, but with the exception of one, maybe two white elephants, all the essays here ring true. A blessed alternative to the dog-eat-dog world view published by so many non-fiction writers.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens?

    Picking a favourite would be like picking a fav from among your children.


    Have you listened to any of Simon Prebble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is only the second yarn I've heard read by this narrator.


    Any additional comments?

    I intend to listen to all of Hitchen's works.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    eric w lindberg 10-06-16
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    "Funny, thoughtful, personal, and unforgiving.."

    An excellent collection of Christopher Hitchen's essays and arguments. Diverse and personal, Hitch reviews works of fellow authors and friends as well as politics, pop culture, pet peeves, and his personal relationship to Jeeves!! A must have for Christopher Hitchens enthusiasts. Simon Prebble does an excellent job recreating Hitch's famously British "snobbery". Unfortunately no one can replicate Hitch's timing and I do still prefer, when possible, to listen to Christopher narrate his own works, few they are.. Worldly, wordy, and chalked full of amazing information, history, and "inside", personal accounts, Arguably may take several listenings to take in all of what's being said. Overall another excellent book by Hitchens, Simon's always a great narrator, and love that Audible made it available in audio format. Thank you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Evan 07-09-16
    Evan 07-09-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Hitch is the greatest."

    The man is missed and irreplaceable. This huge collection of his work is just damn great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W Perry Hall 09-19-15
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    "As American as Apple Pie"

    No book has challenged and amused me as much as this brilliant collection of over a hundred Christopher Hitchens' essays.

    Before buying this book, I was not a big fan. I realize now, regrettably, that I just wasn't paying attention all those years he was around, at least not to anything other than his atheism and what I thought was his supercilious air on a couple of TV programs I cruised by on my remote.

    I have discovered a gold mine, it seems to me, of Hitchens' hyper-intelligent, mordant wit and his textbook knowledge of such a vast array of topics [see below]. While his lexicon was wide and deep, he wrote in risible, rhythmic sentences that ebbed and flowed while he whaled on hypocrisy or satirized politicians or essayed on annoyances, affinities and amusements.

    To give just a couple of examples, in his piece, "As American as Apple Pie," published in the July 2006 Vanity Fair, he noted of a certain American affinity, "The crucial word [...] doesn't come into the American idiom until the 1940s, when it was (a) a part of the gay underworld and (b) possibly derived from the jazz scene and its oral instrumentation. But it has never lost its supposed Victorian origin, which was "below-job" (cognate, if you like, with the now archaic "going down"). This term from London's whoredom still has a faint whiff of contempt.

    ... Stay with me. I've been doing the hard thinking for you. the three-letter "job," with its can-do implications, also makes the term especially American.... Certainly by the time of the war in Vietnam, the war-correspondent David Leitch recorded reporters swapping notes: "When you get to Da Nang ask for Mickey Mouth..."

    Another piece, in which he wrote of his disappointment with Vidal Gore's rapid post-9/11 disintegration entitled "Vidal Loco," (Vanity Fair, Feb. 2010), he quipped, "Vidal in his decline has fans like David Letterman's, who laugh in all the wrong places lest they suspect themselves of not having a good time."

    After I bought this audiobook, and started listening, I was so fascinated, so amused and stimulated that I immediately bought the e-book as well. I find I can read or listen to these essays over and over, and laugh at something anew on each subsequent revisit.

    It's broken into the following sections:

    All American (20 essays on things like "Jefferson versus the Muslim Pirates," to "Vladimir Nabokov: Hurricane Lolita" and "Mark Twain: American Radical.")

    Eclectic Affinities (27 essays on topics like, "The Dark Side of Dickens," "W. Somerset Maugham: Poor Old Willie," "Graham Greene: I'll Be Damned," and "Harry Potter: The Boy Who Lived.")

    Amusements, Annoyances and Disappointments (8 essays such as "Stieg Larsson: The Author Who Played with Fire," "As American as Apple Pie," and "So Many Men's Rooms, So Little Time" (see Sen. Larry Craig))

    Offshore Accounts (25 with titles like, "North Korea: A Nation of Racist Dwarves," and "Worse than Nineteen Eighty-Four")

    Legacies of Totalitarianism (11 essays from "Isabel Allende: Chile Redux" to "W.G. Sebald: Requiem for Germany")

    and,

    Words' Worth (16 essays, such as "When the King Saved God" (on King James I's translation of the Bible) and "The You Decade" [Slate, Apr. 2007] and "A Very, Very Dirty Word").

    Simon Prebble does an excellent job portraying the rapid-fire witticisms, the legerity and the incandescence of the late, great Christopher Hitchens.

    "Arguably" is the cynosure of all essay collections: 28 1/2 hours; 107 Hitchens' polymorphous essays. I cannot commend it highly enough. You won't regret the purchase.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. McDaniel AZ 06-12-15
    T. McDaniel AZ 06-12-15 Member Since 2011
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    "I dare you to only listen once."

    I have listened to this several times and will no doubt listen several more. because I learn something new that i missed on the last listen. I Love this book! and the narration is outstanding!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jewel L. Gray 05-04-15
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    "Hitches at his best."

    I love Everything Hitchien wrote. This as good as it gets. Excellent book! And damn good narrator that made it sing.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 10-02-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 10-02-14 Member Since 2015
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    "HEAVEN HELL OR THE GREAT VOID"

    Hitchens’ capacious knowledge and clever phrasing intimidates and delights casual and committed pundits. Whether to heaven hell or the great void, Hitchen’s passing is a great loss. Hitchens’ proves that one may fail as a memoir maven (“Hitch 22”); yet brilliantly succeed with insightful essays about literature, other writers, and a Marxian view of the world.

    This rough categorization of Hitchens’ essays is wholly inadequate because in truth Hitchens covers a gamut of historic events in the Middle East and a wide range of subjects from water boarding to the evolution of the word “blow job”. Hitchens is considerably more than the sum of this inadequate review.

    At the very least, a reader of Hitchen’s essays will be exposed to a wider world of literature, politics, and belief than most slingers of solipsistic clap trap. Hitchens does not always hit the mark of enlightenment or entertainment in his essays but he is rarely boring. Hitchens’ forays into Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran and his offer to be water boarded are tributes to his manic effort to know the truth of what he writes.

    One can salute Hitchens’ intellect and bravery without necessarily believing what he believes. His pursuit of first hand experience; his erudition and wide literary exposure are what any writer or reader admires. One believes he will be loved and missed by many. “Arguably” is a fun and fascinating profile of a very interesting human being.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Some 02-13-15
    Some 02-13-15
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    "A candidate for multiple re-listenings"

    Absolutely amazing. The sections on German National Socialism in the last third were, admittedly, a little dry. However, the rest is pure gold. The only improvement would have been to have the author record all the essays; the impossibility of this now is not lost on me.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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