Book Reviews

Book Review: Arguably.


This massive book of several essays by Christopher Hitchens, (some critics consider him the best English writer in modern times) neatly grouped into – All American, Eclectic Affinities, Amusements, Annoyances and Disappointments, Legacies and Totalitarianism, and Words Worth, were written for a number of large circulation American magazines, and newspapers.

They focus on history, policies, politicians and distinguished American personalities, capital punishments, and atheism in the modern American military, including the author’s best essays on literary figures past and present.

C. Hitchens had a rare ability to present the past in such a way as to leave the reader wishing that the present should be handled in the way people did at that time.

The article titles the Vietnam Syndrome is particularly notable because it reveals how the US army commanders decided to destroy large tracts of forests both in Vietnam and Laos to “find” and kill enemy soldiers and which represents a fact that must never be repeated in that it was extremely short-sighted from an environmental perspective.

This great writer lived life to its fullest. “Burning the candle on both ends and it gave a bright light”. He was noted for his erudition, as the reader will find out, his love for discussion, good food, Scotch whisky, and fine wine.

He was an assiduous researcher, principled, entertaining, prolific, and witty with acerbic English humour.

Arguably is a veritable feast of his most celebrated essays and absolute joy to read and learn little known facts of politicians, writers, and even American statesmen.

He lived an extraordinary life, debated his beliefs vigorously, gave lectures and speeches, and travelled a great deal while writing memorable articles and essays.

Arguably is a book for every seminal reader read, and occasionally re-read for the writing educates, provokes thoughts, questions and debates. It is simply an outstanding collection of Hitchens’ articles.

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