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Extended Audio Sample Mortality, 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 (4,768 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: September 2012 ISBN: 9781619691896
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On June 8, 2010, while on a book tour for his bestselling memoir, Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens was stricken in his New York hotel room with excruciating pain in his chest and thorax. As he would later write in the first of a series of award-winning columns for Vanity Fair, he suddenly found himself being deported “from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady.” Over the next eighteen months, until his death in Houston on December 15, 2011, he wrote constantly and brilliantly on politics and culture, astonishing readers with his capacity for superior work even in extremis.

Throughout the course of his ordeal battling esophageal cancer, Hitchens adamantly and bravely refused the solace of religion, preferring to confront death with both eyes open. In this riveting account of his affliction, Hitchens poignantly describes the torments of illness, discusses its taboos, and explores how disease transforms experience and changes our relationship to the world around us. By turns personal and philosophical, Hitchens embraces the full panoply of human emotions as cancer invades his body and compels him to grapple with the enigma of death.

Mortality is the exemplary story of one man’s refusal to cower in the face of the unknown, as well as a searching look at the human predicament. Crisp and vivid, veined throughout with penetrating intelligence, Hitchens’ testament is a courageous and lucid work of literature, an affirmation of the dignity and worth of man.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A seeker of truth to the end, and a deservedly legendary witness against the hypocrisy of the ever-sactimonious establishment. What zeal this man had to eviscerate the conceits of the powerful, whether their authority derived from wealth, the state, or a claim to the ear of the divine. Robert Scheer, TruthDig
  • Reading and responding to the Hitch is ceaselessly inspiring and seldom less than exhilarating. More, it is an instigatory experience: it compels you to get involved more deeply with the world around and inside you. Reading any worthwhile writer is an act of celebration, a shared reaction to the act of creation. More, it is an exercise in how to write, read, think and live. PopMatters.com
  • Nothing sharpened Christopher Hitchens' mind like Cancer. He wrote the best, most piercing, most clarifying prose of his career as he faced down the specter of his own demise. As he dealt with fatigue and nausea, with the anger, disgust and frustration that must accompany what he knew was a death sentence, Hitch poured it all into words as painfully honest as they were hilarious. Sharon Waxman, TheWrap.com
  • Among the many things that made Hitchens unique was his precision of thought and expression. What made him rare were his courage and tenacity. He was fearless in the field and relentless in his defense of the defenseless with that mightiest of swords--his pen. Judging from his final essays, he was also fearless in the fact of death. Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post
  • “His unworldly fluency never deserted him, his commitment was passionate, and he never deserted his trade. He was the consummate writer, the brilliant friend. In Walter Pater’s famous phrase, he burned ‘with this hard gem-like flame.’ Right to the end.”

    Ian McEwan

  • I have no doubt that Christopher Hitchens will have an afterlife. As one of the most original and provocative writers of his generation, his words will continue to mesmerize, incite, confound, and entertain. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, FoxNews.com
  • His unworldly fluency never deserted him, his commitment was passionate, and he never deserted his trade. He was the consummate writer, the brilliant friend. In Walter Pater's famous phrase, he burned 'with this hard gem-like flame.'Right the the end. Ian McEwan
  • A seeker of truth to the end, and a deservedly legendary witness against the hypocrisy of the ever-sactimonious establishment. What zeal this man had to eviscerate the conceits of the powerful, whether their authority derived from wealth, the state, or a claim to the ear of the divine. Robert Scheer, TruthDig
  • Reading and responding to the Hitch is ceaselessly inspiring and seldom less than exhilarating. More, it is an instigatory experience: it compels you to get involved more deeply with the world around and inside you. Reading any worthwhile writer is an act of celebration, a shared reaction to the act of creation. More, it is an exercise in how to write, read, think and live. PopMatters.com
  • Nothing sharpened Christopher Hitchens' mind like Cancer. He wrote the best, most piercing, most clarifying prose of his career as he faced down the specter of his own demise. As he dealt with fatigue and nausea, with the anger, disgust and frustration that must accompany what he knew was a death sentence, Hitch poured it all into words as painfully honest as they were hilarious. Sharon Waxman, TheWrap.com
  • Among the many things that made Hitchens unique was his precision of thought and expression. What made him rare were his courage and tenacity. He was fearless in the field and relentless in his defense of the defenseless with that mightiest of swords--his pen. Judging from his final essays, he was also fearless in the fact of death. Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post
  • I have no doubt that Christopher Hitchens will have an afterlife. As one of the most original and provocative writers of his generation, his words will continue to mesmerize, incite, confound, and entertain. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, FoxNews.com
  • His unworldly fluency never deserted him, his commitment was passionate, and he never deserted his trade. He was the consummate writer, the brilliant friend. In Walter Pater's famous phrase, he burned 'with this hard gem-like flame.'Right the the end. Ian McEwan
  • “Unsparingly blunt, rhetorically suave…It’s rare that someone so powerfully writes of such deep connections between the death of intellectual ability and the decay of the body.”

    Boston Globe

  • “One of our best is gone, yet Mortality is a powerful and moving final utterance.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Among the many things that made Hitchens unique was his precision of thought and expression. What made him rare were his courage and tenacity. He was fearless in the field and relentless in his defense of the defenseless with that mightiest of swords—his pen. Judging from his final essays, he was also fearless in the fact of death.”

    Washington Post

  • “Hitchens’ powerful voice compels us to consider carefully the small measures by which we live every day and to cherish them.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “These essays are brave and fitting final words from a writer at the end of his journey.”

    BookPage

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2012
  • A Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book in 2012
  • A Barnes & Noble Best Book for Nonfiction
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2012
  • A BookPage Best Book of 2012
  • An eMusic Best Audiobook of the Year in 2012

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 2/12/2014

    " The book was heart-wrenchingly, tragically lovely. Hitches written voice is raw and strong and he doesn't back down from the very real fact that he is dying. I was particularly struck by the last essay composed of the fragments he never completed. Although they were written on separate occasions, to see them pieced together like that created the strong effect of Hitchens at the end of his life simply trying to express all of the things he still wants to share with the world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Samanta Rivera | 1/31/2014

    " Beautifully written essays, detailing his last days. It was quite a powerful read - especially reading it a few months after my father died of cancer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brandon | 1/26/2014

    " Hitchens, here, as always, is unflinchingly honest & resolute in his desire to not play the pitiable patient. It's a volume, however thin, weighted with the final musings of once in a generation intellect. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arlo | 1/25/2014

    " The ultimate final chapter, to the extent, that last part of the book is unfinished fragmented writing. His trademark intellectual insightfulness is here but turns inward and the traditionally stoic character reveals his feeling of melancholy, false hope and eventually helplessness. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen Owen | 1/24/2014

    " would give 4 stars normally but gave 5 because of his death...miss his wit so much :( one of the best writers of our time.. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tina Hannan | 1/22/2014

    " Not what I was expecting. Less structured and more random thoughts. Insightful yes, but not the substantial text I was hoping for. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Crystal | 1/19/2014

    " At a later age in life I became enthralled with the idea that God may not exist. I'll admit, it was under much criticism that I questioned my beliefs but I did it even though it isolated me from so many in my life. Christopher Hitchens was one of the authors that I came across a few years ago. I had read The God Delusion and found it informative but not nearly as interesting as this affair. Goodness gracious, the form he takes while opening his very life to the reader. There is something magickal about the vulnerability Hitchens displays in Mortality. I was moved, touched and changed by this book. I loved it. R.I.P. Brilliant One. <3 "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martin | 1/17/2014

    " Some of the best writing Hitch ever did. I wish he and Ed Abbey could have met. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zach Haywood | 1/15/2014

    " The only reason I can't rate this higher is because it was over too quickly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam | 1/14/2014

    " As usual, a great read. Hitchens is stoic but at his most vulnerable. Alas, fate saw fit to make the book far too short. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick | 12/17/2013

    " This is a very haunting collection of essays from the great man's last days. it is both inspiring and incredibly sad to hear his voice again only to get hit with the twinge that he is no longer with us. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 12/5/2013

    " A series of beautifully written essays, not the least of which is the final chapter by Hitchens' widow, Carol Blue. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lyndsay Wright | 7/14/2013

    " A beautiful, stark, and honest account of "living dyingly" written during the last 19 months of his life. Evocative reflectivity on life, death, religion, and living with cancer; by my favourite wordsmith. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Deb Mjaatvedt | 1/22/2013

    " I always enjoyed Hitchens' position on issues. I didn't always agree with him, but I found him sincere, intelligent and thought-provoking. While the purpose of this book is heart-wrenching, I couldn't summon any sort of enthusiasm for it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn | 1/1/2013

    " A brief book, easy to read in one sitting. Hitchens writes his usual comments on religion, but his best parts are on how others react to his cancer and what not to say when someone is dying. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meg | 11/28/2012

    " Wow. Poignant, amazing book. It's inspired me to go back and read Hitchens' other works. He was a brilliant man. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 11/26/2012

    " A fantastic exploration of what it means to die of cancer, laying out all the pokes and prods in that boldly human voice that Hitch always employs. I felt a sense of strange foreboding reading it, already knowing the ending. Beautiful, humorous and brave. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt Comito | 8/20/2012

    " one small miracle of this book given it's subject matter and my fondness for its author is that having finished it I am not in any way depressed. There,,,, "

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