Christopher Hitchens, tackling nearly everything with unmatched enthusiasm, erudition and, at times venom, has up to now barely touched upon one subject: his own life.
After many years writing about world issues and traveling to some of the most dangerous places on the planet, comes his memoir Hitch-22. Though Hitchens can navigate any argument with great dexterity, his memoir focuses on those whom he has loved, those he has abhorred, and those who have helped shape him throughout his life. The memoir answers this question: How the hell did Christopher Hitchens become Christopher Hitchens?
With tenderness he writes about his parents -- his mother Yvonne, in particular, "a beautiful woman who loves me" and about his father, Commander Hitchens, whose "liver was that of a hero." In a form that is anything but shy, Hitchens describes his complex and warm relationship with his mother, whose Jewish heritage he discovered only after her suicide.
The memoir naturally touches upon friendships, both lost and found over the course of his life. Hitchens' many sketches of friendships and ex-friendships from Martin Amis to Noam Chomsky, Edward Said to Gore Vidal are delivered in a style that is at once ironic, witty and tough-minded. A legendary bon vivant with an unquenchable thirst for literature, Hitchens has at times ridiculed those who claim the personal is political, even though he has often seemed to illustrate that very idea.
Paul Holdengräber, in conversation with Hitchens, will goad him to help bring into focus the many sides of Hitch, thereby illustrating Robert Frost's dictum that "a liberal is a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel."
Christopher Hitchens is an author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the Hoover Institution in 2008.
Paul Holdengräber is the Director of LIVE from the NYPL.
Author Christopher Hitchens recalls a photo caption in a National Portrait Gallery catalog that mistakenly listed him as "the late Christopher Hitchens." "When you read about yourself in the past tense," says Hitchens, "it does concentrate the mind."
Author Christopher Hitchens discusses his views on the recent Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. He argues that while the Gaza occupation is unjust, the activists on the flotilla most likely had ulterior motives.
Critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or divine beings. Unlike agnosticism, which leaves open the question of whether there is a God, atheism is a positive denial. It is rooted in an array of philosophical systems. Ancient Greek philosophers such as Democritus and Epicurus argued for it in the context of materialism. In the 18th century David Hume and Immanuel Kant, though not atheists, argued against traditional proofs for God's existence, making belief a matter of faith alone. Atheists such as Ludwig Feuerbach held that God was a projection of human ideals and that recognizing this fiction made self-realization possible. Marxism exemplified modern materialism. Beginning with Friedrich Nietzsche, existentialist atheism proclaimed the death of God and the human freedom to determine value and meaning. Logical positivism holds that propositions concerning the existence or nonexistence of God are nonsensical or meaningless.
History or record composed from personal observation and experience. Closely related to autobiography, a memoir differs chiefly in the degree of emphasis on external events. Unlike writers of autobiography, who are concerned primarily with themselves as subject matter, writers of memoir usually have played roles in, or have closely observed, historical events, and their main purpose is describing or interpreting those events.
Hitchens says at around 1 hour 8 minutes in:
"I began to identify much more with America and its struggle against theocracy and barbarism and to resent the people who were slandering it for doing so. And who still do."
What about one of America's strongest allies in the same region as Iraq Hitch? Namely Saudi Arabia, with its "Islamic absolute monarchy" where women can't even drive a car! We know why the US has propped up and supported such a brutal dictator in Saudi Arabia, its large oil reserves. But Hitchens proclaims the US to have noble goals. How does one as intelligent as Hitchens get around this contradiction, anybody?
I must also add that the passage from the book he read about his mother was extremely moving.
This interviewer is so irritating - his question to Christopher about his mother's death - "Why do you think she reached out to YOU?" What on earth !!!
Does anyone else find him a "ponmpous fart"? or is it just me ...
This program was simply awful. The main culprit was the interviewer, who thought that people came to hear him. He dominated the conversation with his own views and interjected himself to the point where Hitchens was more an onlooker than a participant. As for Hitchens, a person whom I've heard before and like, well, I can only say that he had an off-night. After an hour, my state of annoyance was such that I turned it off. My time was wasted.