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.