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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 Prebbl Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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

  • “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

  • “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.”


  • 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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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