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.

Author: Nikogrel Takinos
Country: Zimbabwe
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Career
Published (Last): 15 June 2009
Pages: 56
PDF File Size: 14.18 Mb
ePub File Size: 4.85 Mb
ISBN: 669-6-77059-961-1
Downloads: 23499
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Tonris

Among his many weapons are a forensic curiosity, a vast learning, a savage wit, a commanding intellect, an international perspective and a moral authority that is built on something sturdier than cheap moralising. Letters to a Young Contrarian. Even the term “iconoclast” is seldom used negatively, but rather to suggest that the breaking of images is a harmless discharge of energy.

To be in opposition is not to be a nihilist. He mines a vast archive of historical and intellectual precedent in making his case and molding it all into original observations of his own.

However, it will very often be found that people are highly attached to illusions or prejudices, and are not just the sullen victims of dogma or orthodoxy. A proper contrarian wouldn’t unconditionally applaud his exhortations.

Fans of his work may be riveted, but for newcomers I’d try one of his more focussed books. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. See 2 questions about Letters to a Young Contrarian…. Apr 09, Chaunceton Bird rated it really liked it. Hitchens duly breaks his word and Amis attempts to break his shins. Hitchens’s stridency and certainty will always be politically potent, but Amis’s willingness to commit his vulnerability and confusion to the page ultimately makes him the more subtle and resonant writer.


As a description, it’s fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Furthermore, some of the anecdotes not very interesting or are basic, some being on the level of name-dropping.


Go find a sparring partner. His talent for making people look stupid is enviable. This is my third read of this book and I really won’t be exaggerating when I say that I look forward to many future readings. Published April 13th by Basic Books first published The problem is that, much different than rebellion for its own sake, Hitchens backs it all up with historical and anecdotal proof.

Letters to a Young Contrarian

Do bear in mind that the cynics have a point, of a sort, when they speak of the “professional nay-sayer”. Instead of singing along to the Bad Romances and the Contrarinaor whatever you kids are listening to nowadays, I am obdurately testifying along: He knew there would be violent reaction and he did it anyway.

As a species, we may by all means think ruefully about the waste and horror produced by war and other forms of rivalry and jealousy. Letters to a Young Contrarian strikes me as the kind of book that might inspire a future Hitchens to seek to surpass Hitchens’ own work in the public sphere.


No other writer has matched Hitchens’s understanding of the importance of disagreement–to personal integrity, to informed discussion, to true progress, to democracy itself. The fact is there is no way of mentioning these details without sounding boastful and boastfulness, however accurate, seldom fails to undermine achievements, to say nothing of convictions.

KevinR Ky, re-posted with slight fixes in A nice, short primer for Christopher Hitchens. Everybody devises tactics for getting through such moments; try behaving “as if” they need not be tolerated and hiychens not inevitable.

Aug 12, M.

Letters to a Young Contrarian : Christopher Hitchens :

Paperbackpages. Loved the phrase contrafian apotheosis of the ostrich. The readability and entertaining prose of this author is by far his greatest strength. Hitchens was courageous in both life and death. However, the problem with Rilke’s original letters, aside from the Desiderata-style tone, is one that also afflicts Hitchens’s work here, and is perhaps endemic to the form.