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Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left

by Simon Cottee, Thomas Cushman & Christopher Hitchens New York University Press
Pub Date:
06/2008
ISBN:
9780814716878
Format:
Pbk 392 pages
Price:
AU$54.99 NZ$57.39
Product Status: Available in Approx 5 days
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Christopher Hitchens—political journalist, cultural critic, public intellectual and self-described “contrarian”—is one of the most controversial and prolific writers of his generation. His most recent book, God is Not Great, was on the New York Times bestseller list in 2007 for months. Like his hero, George Orwell, Hitchens is a tireless
opponent of all forms of cruelty, ideological dogma, religious superstition and intellectual foible. Once a socialist, he now refers to himself as an “unaffiliated radical.” As a thinker, Hitchens is perhaps best viewed as “post-ideological,” in that his intellectual sources and solidarities are strikingly various (he is an admirer of both Leon Trotsky and Kingsley Amis) and cannot be located easily at any one point on the ideological spectrum. Since leaving Britain for the United States in 1981, Hitchens’s thinking has moved in what some see as contradictory directions, but he remains an unapologetic and passionate defender of the Enlightenment values of secularism, democracy, free expression, and scientific inquiry.The global turmoil of the recent past has provoked intense dispute and division among intellectuals, academics, and other commentators. Hitchens’s writing during this time, particularly after 9/11, is an essential reference point for understanding the genesis and meaning of that turmoil—and the challenges that accompany it. This volume brings together Hitchens’s most incisive reflections on the “war on terror,” the war in Iraq, and the state of the contemporary Left. It also includes a selection of critical commentaries on his work from his former leftist comrades, a set of exchanges between Hitchens and various left-leaning interlocutors (such as Noam Chomsky, Studs Terkel, and Katha Pollitt), and an introductory essay by the editors on the nature and significance of Hitchens’s contribution to the world of ideas and public debate. In response, Hitchens provides an original afterword, written for this collection.Whatever readers might think about Hitchens, he remains an intellectual force to be reckoned with. And there is no better place to encounter his current thinking than in this provocative volume.

Acknowledgments
 Introduction: Terror, Iraq, and the Left 
Part I: Hitchens on Terror
Part II: Hitchens on Iraq
Part III: Hitchens on the Left
Part IV: Critical Responses and Exchanges
 Afterword 
 Christopher Hitchens
 About the Contributors 
 Index 

Most of Hitchenss reasons for keeping the hawkish faith can be found in this collection. - New York Review of Books The controversial pundit dishes out and takes punishment in this anthology of rancorous essays by him and the leftist comrades he abandoned to embrace the invasion of Iraq. . . .There's red meat aplenty for pro- and anti-Hitchens readers. - Publishers Weekly Hitchenss style is so dazzling it is easy to forget that it is rooted in a solid belief in secularism, feminism, and reason. These are the core principles of the Left and we have no choice but to defend them. As they are assaulted by psychopathic Islamists abroad and betrayed by empty headed phonies at home, it is good to know that Hitchens is on our side. - Nick Cohen, columnist, The Observer The 52 essays, articles, and exchanges are among the best in post-9/11 literature, and shimmer with pugilistic intelligence and wit. - Capitol File Magazine
Thomas Cushman is Professor of Sociology at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and the founder and editor-at-large of the Journal of Human Rights. He has written or edited numerous books, including George Orwell Into the 21st Century, A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq, and This Time We Knew: Western Responses to Genocide in Bosnia (NYU Press).