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Extended Audio Sample Arguably, by Christopher Hitchens Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (2,959 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Christopher Hitchens Narrator: Simon Prebble Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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“All first-rate criticism first defines what we are confronting,” the late, great jazz critic Whitney Balliett once wrote. By that measure, the essays of Christopher Hitchens are in the first tier. For nearly four decades, Hitchens has been telling us, in pitch-perfect prose, what we confront when we grapple with first principles, the principles of reason and tolerance and skepticism that define and inform the foundations of our civilization-principles that, to endure, must be defended anew by every generation.

“A short list of the greatest living conversationalists in English,” said The Economist, “would probably have to include Christopher Hitchens, Sir Patrick Leigh-Fermor, and Sir Tom Stoppard. Great brilliance, fantastic powers of recall, and quick wit are clearly valuable in sustaining conversation at these cosmic levels. Charm may be helpful, too.” Hitchens-who staunchly declines all offers of knighthood-hereby invites you to take a seat at a democratic conversation, to be engaged, and to be reasoned with. His knowledge is formidable, an encyclopedic treasure, and yet one has the feeling, reading him, of hearing a person thinking out loud, following the inexorable logic of his thought, wherever it might lead, unafraid to expose fraudulence, denounce injustice, and excoriate hypocrisy. Legions of readers, admirers and detractors alike, have learned to read Hitchens with something approaching awe at his felicity of language, the oxygen in every sentence, the enviable wit and his readiness, even eagerness, to fight a foe or mount the ramparts.

Here, he supplies fresh perceptions of such figures as varied as Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Rebecca West, George Orwell, J.G. Ballard, and Philip Larkin are matched in brilliance by his pungent discussions and intrepid observations, gathered from a lifetime of traveling and reporting from such destinations as Iran, China, and Pakistan.

Hitchens’ directness, elegance, lightly carried erudition, critical and psychological insight, humor, and sympathy-applied as they are here to a dazzling variety of subjects, all set a standard for the essayist that has rarely been matched in our time. What emerges from this indispensable volume is an intellectual self-portrait of a writer with an exemplary steadiness of purpose and a love affair with the delights and seductions of the English language, a man anchored in a profound and humane vision of the human longing for reason and justice.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “I still find Hitchens one of the most stimulating thinkers and entertaining writers we have, even when—perhaps especially when—he provokes.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “One reads Hitchens despite his reputation as someone who wants to drink, argue, and tear the ornaments off the tree, because he is, first and last, a writer, an always exciting, often exacting, furious polemicist. This fact, the most salient thing about him, often gets neglected in the public jousting. Arguably, Hitchens’ new collection, forcefully proves this point. Consisting of three kinds of writing—literary journalism, political commentary, and cultural complaint—Arguably offers a panoramic if somewhat jaundiced view of the last decade or so of cultural and political history.”

    Boston Globe

  • “I can’t think of anyone who brings to such a diverse range of subjects Hitchens’ mobilizing wit, intelligence, and passion…One reason I shall keep Arguably by my side is Hitchens’ vigilant love of the English language…He is, in the parlance of his old party, our maximum journalist.”

    Telegraph (London)

  • “One great pleasure provided by this remarkable book is to read what he says of many favorite and unexpected authors. Literary criticism still retains plenty of grip when so very well written, so funny and fluent, so loving and so pungent.”

    Independent (London)

  • “Opinions are to Christopher Hitchens what oil is to Saudi Arabia. This collection features his liveliest, funniest, and most infamous essays…There is a time for the balanced, even-handed, and sober approach—but why bother with any of that when you could be reading someone as provocative and impish as Hitchens?”

    New York Post

  • “Christopher Hitchens’ selected essays are Arguably his finest to date.”

    Vanity Fair

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2011 New York Times Top 10 Book
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2011 Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book
  • A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”, September 2011
  • A 2011 ALA Notable Book
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • One of the 2011 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mejix | 2/14/2014

    " It was much better than I expected. I found Hitchens to be a more likeable voice than I remembered. The breadth of his interests is impressive. His literary essays are brilliant. I wasn't terribly interested in his more political work, even though I do agree with him on many things. I'm not sure his insights are particularly unique. What I appreciated was his combative, opinionated and humane voice. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Michaela | 2/6/2014

    " He certainly has a broad scope of knowledge regarding history. I probably shouldn't have started with his essay on why women are humorless. I did enjoy his essay on why the U.S. has become a banana republic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Christine | 2/4/2014

    " This is a big read and I have not finished it yet. In truth it is a book for dipping into rather than reading cover to cover. Having said that I am finding it captivating, challenging and witty. Will say more when I have it finished which, given its size, may be some time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Richard Chandler | 2/2/2014

    " sad to see him go, notwithstanding his ideas about the Iraq war. "

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