Cover Image: A Hitch in Time

A Hitch in Time

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a thought-provoking read, as everything by Hitchens tends to be. Fun, exploratory, a great book to read a little and think a lot and repeat.

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Writing of Gore Vidal, Hitchens asserts that the man not only made sentences but pronounced them. Typically for Hitchens, the line is both elegant and correct; Vidal seemed to thrive on declaring judgments, an attribute true of Hitchens as well.

If examples are needed, this volume (a collection of pieces Hitchens wrote for London Review of Books) furnishes plenty, from J. Edgar Hoover to Isaiah Berlin.

It’s often been said that Hitchens “savaged” his targets, and to some degree, especially in live debate, that was true. But what that verb fails to capture is that he did so with surgical precision, and often with a rare, if sometimes grudging, sympathy.

James Wolcott’s fizzy and enjoyable introduction doesn’t try to make the case that these are the best essays he ever produced, as, indeed, they aren’t. As much as Hitchens tried to write with an eye toward posterity, some of the pieces here smack of ephemerality—of battles that once meant everything but that now barely graze the memory.

Still, there’s value here. Hitchens had a keen eye and a well-calibrated bullshit together, and a constitutional aversion to lifeless prose. Sometimes he trained them on subjects less than worthy of his time, a time that was shorter than he, and many others, would have liked. It’s said that he wanted to write a book on Proust. How badly I want to read it.

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I was first introduced to Christopher Hitchens by my college professor, Dr. Auchard. I was so impressed with Dr. Auchard, and the way he spoke about Hitchens with such high regard made me curious. Since then, I've come to the conclusion that Christopher Hitchens is always a joy to read, and this collection is no different. The insightful way he examines the world around him is unparalleled, and I very much enjoyed spending time reading and investigating the ideas, comments, and people he mentions to further my understanding. If you'd like to stretch your brain a bit and challenge some of your thought patterns, give this collection a go.

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Christopher Hitchens was taken from us too soon. This collection is uneven, though - some of it is brilliant, some of it is fine. Some of it I'm merely lacking context. Still, it's always a pleasure to read Hitchens.

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Thanks to NetGalley and Twelve Books for the opportunity to read A Hitch in Time by Christopher Hitchens. While not always in agreement wit Christopher Hitchens, I have enjoyed his concise yet free-wheeling writing, his unbridled rabid wit, and his unharnessed intelligence. This was a treat.

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