Dawkins That Hitchens took a glass-half-full approach to agnostics is notable because it's sharply at odds with the line of his compatriot, Richard Dawkins, whose thoughts on agnostics are almost uniformly negative. Yet, of the seven brief references to agnosticism that appear in "God Is Not Great," all are unmistakably supportive.
It was at the outset of his publicity tour Hitch that Hitchens learned the awful news that he had become gravely ill.
This is what citizens of the sick country do while they are still hopelessly clinging to their old domicile. Posterity, in other words, was not going to wait much longer.
Mortality is not the sustained Socratic mediation on the human condition that the title might suggest. At its heart, this slender volume is a prolonged and painful study in cognitive dissonance, as the robust, high-living and yes terminally witty Hitchens records the galloping dissolution of his health and consciousness — the two things that humans almost have to take for granted in order to function in any reliable fashion.
Which is not to say, of course, that Hitchens refrains from going another round with his antagonists on the question of religious belief.
Devout persons have died young and in pain. Bertrand Russell and Voltaire, by contrast, remained spry until the end, as many psychopathic criminals and tyrants have also done. These visitations, then, seem awfully random. My so far uncancerous throat, let me rush to assure my Christian correspondent above, is not at all the only organ with which I have blasphemed.
In which case, why not cancer of the brain? While the battle against superstitious folly does indeed span generations, that also means the odds against getting the last word are forbidding, to put it mildly.
Far less gracious is one of the entries in his computer that Hitchens tossed off toward the end of his life, and that his editor has dubiously seen fit to reproduce here: The book serves chiefly as a prooftext for one of the subordinate arguments in God Is Not Great: So, for instance, Hitchens becomes haunted by the idea of putting his pain-wracked body to some productive scientific use.
I would have happily offered myself as an experimental subject for new drugs or new surgeries, partly of course in the hope that they might salvage me, but also on the Mann principle. Even this decidedly speculative prospect is clouded now, thanks to the ruling of a federal court putting a halt to government research involving embryonic stem cells.
Hitchens also writes most movingly about the eventual arrival of the fate that his online Christian antagonists were urging on: He delivers an unstinting appraisal of the degree to which he lived by the art of conversation — something that any visitor to his apartment-cum-salon in Northwest Washington could readily confirm: I have never been able to sing, but I could once recite poetry and quote prose and was sometimes even asked to do so.
Cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic. More to the point here, however, I can confirm just how impossible it was for Hitchens — even in the most taxing and awful throes of his illness — to succumb to the allure of solipsism or even garden-variety self-pity.
Indeed, on the very next stop on that abortive tour for Hitch, in Chicago, he abruptly cut short his itinerary — not to absorb the devastating news of his illness, but to spend the day consoling a close mutual friend of us both who was enduring a hellish personal crisis of his own.
In smaller things, too, Hitchens continued throughout his illness to observe an unfailingly expansive sociability even as his body was being eaten up from the inside.
He replied with regrets that he was to be out of town that day in all likelihood, to seek more treatment in Houston, we both knew but did not sayand added, since he was writing on Christmas Day: Jefferson used to say at the Solstice.
Here was a gravely ill correspondent, whom I had been leery in the extreme about imposing on at all, apologizing to me about his physical inability to honor a minor social invitation.The Best American Essays by Christopher Hitchens A copy that has been read, but remains in excellent condition.
Pages are intact and are not marred by notes or highlighting, but may contain a neat previous owner name.
The spine remains undamaged. At 4/5(1). A Good Man, Slighted: Christopher Hitchens deserved a knighthood this year. that Hitchens edited The Best American Essays that Hitchens edited The Best American Essays It was.
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The Best American Essays's wiki: The Best American Essays is a yearly anthology of magazine articles published in the United States. It was started in and is now part of The Best American Series published by Houghton Mifflin.
Articles are chosen using the same procedu. SEPTEMBER 2, EVEN BEFORE HE’D FALLEN terminally ill in , Christopher Hitchens — a writer legendary for rapidly executing his deadlines on the fly — had begun writing far more.
Most of these essays appeared in the Atlantic, the Guardian, Newsweek, Slate, and Vanity Fair from forward a time frame during which Hitchens hit the best-seller lists with both God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything () and Hitch () while battling cancer.