Christopher Hitchens is an immodest man with much to be immodest about, but can his Letters to a Young Contrarian be anything more than. Christopher Hitchens offers them the wisdom of a seasoned campaigner. Letters to a young contrarian. The spirit of may be a distant. Hitchens, a columnist for the Nation and Vanity Fair, and author, most recently, of The Trial of Henr.

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None the less, there are in all periods people who feel themselves in some fashion to be apart. Instead of singing along to the Bad Romances letterrs the Mmmbopiesor whatever you kids are listening to nowadays, I am obdurately testifying along: I was myself “of” this period, and have witnessed some truly marvellous moments at first hand. Still, my review will be a bit rusty and intellectually lazy because the sheer number of points and concepts touched upon in the book would require a book-length treatise to address.

I remember Hitchens on a Bill Maher show on HBO where he was a guest and argued with the audience for almost the entire program. View all 8 comments. I consistently go back to it when in times of crisis or when I contrariaan a mental recharging. Overall, I found his style stilted and stodgy, his referencing of Orwell and Adorno and the like unexciting and expected, and his name-dropping of dear friends Rushdie, Amis, McEwan insecure.

In itself that is no bad thing, but the master-student dynamic means that the result is inevitably self-congratulatory. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. So why does this clever, epigrammatic little book leave me, a long-standing admirer of Hitchens, feeling disappointed?

Here is what the enlightened one told his interlocutor, at christopber opening of The Art of Happiness: If not, contrarizn me why I am wrong in thinking that argumentation is a common good. The Hindus had the wit to see and the courage to proclaim the fact; Jitchens, the goal of their striving, is nothingness. I would classify Hitchens as a writer’s writer as opposed to a reader’s writer though.

Why do I use the offensive word “idiotic”? I have been proven wrong before, and I have changed my mind about things of which I have not been proven wrong. All I can recommend, therefore apart from the study of these and other good examplesis that you try to cultivate some of this attitude. To ask other readers questions about Letters to a Young Contrarianplease sign up.


He’s too smart to be unaware of the trap – ‘I shall pretend that I am a stranger to all forms of modesty, including the false,’ he quips – but too human to avoid it.

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Hitchens’s stridency and certainty will always be politically potent, but Amis’s willingness to commit his contearian and confusion to the page ultimately makes him the more subtle and resonant writer.

So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish.

Letters to a Young Contrarian – Wikipedia

This utterance struck home in the consciousness of contrxrian mids, at a time when existential anomie was trading at an inflated price. But I found the book to be more of a reminder than a discovery, more of a visit to the familiar contrarian lands of my early teens than an exciting adventure to unknown lands.

There is something still to be said, I think, for secular humanism and thought in that vein, for the thought of figures like Russell and Hitchens may disagree even the chhristopher spiritually inclined figures like Tagore. Jul 08, Hayden rated it really liked it Shelves: However, when Hitchens has come up against anyone who was tepid in their denunciation of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, he writes: Nobody in the supposedly affluent and disillusioned 50s had seen any of this coming; I am quite certain that there will be future opportunities for people of high ideals, or of any ideals at all.

Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. This book would be useful to anyone who wants to get involved in some field that requires strong debate or anyone who wants to get involved in almost any cause, particularly more controversial ones. In short, here’s a guy who has seen more than you or your most well traveled friend ever will and has everything to say about it.


Moss can be existential in practice. Published April 13th by Basic Books first published As well as countless insights.

xontrarian Hitchens’ greatest fault was his failure to truly understand that he was part of a particular tribe and to truly transcend that tribe.

He can be pretentious stop quoting shit in random languages I don’t speak! It is, in short, the kind of book one wishes Hitchens wrote more often. Impervious to Amis’s foot, Hitchens attacks Bellow over Israel because, he explains, he feels obliged to defend his friend, Edward Said. Views Read Edit View history. As is his trademark, Hitchens pointedly pitches himself in contrast to stagnant attitudes across the ideological spectrum.

Jan 07, Jacob J.

He was also a media fellow at the Hoover Institution. Vaclav Havel, then working as a marginal playwright and cjristopher in a society and state that truly merited the title of Absurd, realised that “resistance” in its original insurgent and militant sense was impossible in the central Europe of the day.

There even exist official phrases of vhristopher for this tendency, of which the latest is the supposedly praiseworthy ability to “think outside the box”.

The Hitch is back in town

More By and About This Author. Always state your case if you have one and if you are serious about it. I didn’t much love his religion-related ideas, in general — found them overly concerned with control, too quick to dismiss what’s been called the holy spirit I doubt Hitchens played much music. The Best Books of I cannot more highly recommend this book to any person who wan Contraarian the years reading Christopher Hitchens has been hit or miss for me.

When such a precious and irreplaceable word as “irony” has become a lazy synonym for anomie, there is scant room for originality.