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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.
51 of 54 people found this review helpful
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.
21 of 22 people found this review helpful