Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens

  • by Christopher Hitchens
  • Narrated by Simon Prebble
  • 28 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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."

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Customer Reviews

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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.
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- David

Worthy of many re-readings

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.
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- Sean

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-01-2011
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio