'Arguably: Essays'By Christopher HitchensTwelve, 812 pages, $30

A line appearing somewhere near the midpoint of this collection of essays is revealing: “Stay with me. I've been doing the hard thinking for you.” Christopher Hitchens does a lot of hard thinking apparently; keep up if you can. This may suggest that considerable ego is involved, and given the author's reputation you can be sure that it is, but on display too is considerable erudition.

ARGUABLY: Essays By Christopher Hitchens Twelve, 788 pp., $30

 (Full name Christopher Eric Hitchens) English journalist, essayist, and nonfiction writer.
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The story behind Christopher Hitchens’s March 2012 essay

Christopher Hitches has the eye of a painter and the literary skill of a novelist. He infuses his essays with the same narrative thrust that can be found in the most addictive fiction. He is the Ian Fleming of essays, unrumpled in his tuxedo no matter how dicey the event with a smoothly upper class mastery of the British language.

Essay: Religion Is Absurd - Christopher Hitchens - Skeptical Science

Christopher Hitchens' writings on politics and his public face on a variety of TV programs and in other forums have earned him manifold tags, not always favorable ones (depending on whom is bestowing them) — he's been called a provocateur, a contrarian, a ranter, a polemicist, a traitor (by former friends on the Left who disagree with his view of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq). But the essays in "Arguably" remind us of other dimensions to this singular writer and thinker that are sometimes overshadowed by the range of his political commentary.

Discussed in this essay: Arguably: Essays, by Christopher Hitchens. Twelve. 788 pages. $30.
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'Arguably: Essays' by Christopher Hitchens - The Boston Globe

Humor, if we are to be serious about it, arises from the ineluctable fact that we are all born into a losing struggle. Those who risk agony and death to bring children into this fiasco simply can't afford to be too frivolous. (And there just aren't that many episiotomy jokes, even in the male repertoire.) I am certain that this is also partly why, in all cultures, it is females who are the rank-and-file mainstay of religion, which in turn is the official enemy of all humor. One tiny snuffle that turns into a wheeze, one little cut that goes septic, one pathetically small coffin, and the woman's universe is left in ashes and ruin. Try being funny about that, if you like. Oscar Wilde was the only person ever to make a decent joke about the death of an infant, and that infant was fictional, and Wilde was (although twice a father) a queer. And because fear is the mother of superstition, and because they are partly ruled in any case by the moon and the tides, women also fall more heavily for dreams, for supposedly significant dates like birthdays and anniversaries, for romantic love, crystals and stones, lockets and relics, and other things that men know are fit mainly for mockery and limericks. Good grief! Is there anything less funny than hearing a woman relate a dream she's just had? ("And then Quentin was there somehow. And so were you, in a strange sort of way. And it was all so peaceful." Peaceful?) For men, it is a tragedy that the two things they prize the most—women and humor—should be so antithetical. But without tragedy there could be no comedy. My beloved said to me, when I told her I was going to have to address this melancholy topic, that I should cheer up because "women get funnier as they get older." Observation suggests to me that this might indeed be true, but, excuse me, isn't that rather a long time to have to wait? Christopher Hitchens is a Vanity Fair contributing editor.

Arguably : essays by Christopher Hitchens /

“Christopher Hitches has the eye of a painter and the literary skill of a novelist. He infuses his essays with the same narrative thrust that can be found in the most addictive fiction. He is the Ian Fleming of essays, unrumpled in his tuxedo no matter how dicey the event with a smoothly upper class mastery of the British language.”

Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens proves as mercurial as the man himself; it is at times infuriating, tedious, educational, gloriously candid, and completely hilarious. The man has an opinion on everything. Literally everything from the genius of Charles Dickens to the virtues of masturbation. And given the heft of the book, weighing in at around eight hundred pages, he is given the chance to express all his opinions here in this one volume. In other words, the enormous girth of the book gives free range to Mr. Hitchens’ enormous berth of ideas.

Arguably
is an atom smasher of a thing. A book to amaze your friends and confound your enemies. One that shows the best and the worst of its author.

: Essays (Hardcover) (Christopher Hitchens) : Target

If you're a fan of Hitchens however, I recommend you get these. I enjoyed most of them immensely, despite my disagreement with his views on religion. After all, an essay by Christopher Hitchens, not at his sharpest or wittiest, is better than those penned by the best of the muckrakers still living.