Letters to a Young Contrarian

  • by Christopher Hitchens
  • Narrated by James Adams
  • 3 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A witty, wise, biting, and completely individual meditation on what it means to think, live, and be to the contrary.
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.

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What the Critics Say

"[T]his mini-manifesto, despite the somewhat mountainous terrain, should provide readers interested in current events and anti-establishment philosophy with a clearer view into one of today's more restless and provocative minds." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Something I'll listen to again

I won't be deleting this off my iPod anytime soon because the contrarian advice is something I want to soak in more than once so I really absorb it. There were times that Hitchens is way too well-read and smart for me to fully grasp all his references, but the book is concise and witty enough that it was easy for me to get past these parts. Sure, he can be smug and condescending but when done with wit, these traits can be fun if used against sacred cows and the powerful.

The book makes you want to speak up for righteous causes even if doing so makes you a bit of a bore. And it makes you not want to be a conformist because then you'd be an even bigger bore.

The book has the feel of something that will be read 100 years from now. Here's hoping Hitch has more life in him before the cancer takes him -- even if he doesn't write again -- because the world is a better place with him in it.

P.S. The narrator is good. He doesn't get in the way of the prose but is merely a conduit, as if Hitchens were reading it himself.
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- Mark

The best of Christopher Hitchens.

In the same line as his God Is Not Great, but shorter, funnier, to the point. Some very fresh insight from Hitchens. I also listened to Hitch-22 and this is much more enjoyable. A better listen.
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- Sebastian

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-16-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios