Christopher “Don’t Call Me Chris” Hitchens is a lover and a fighter, and the two sides hash it out in this superb memoir. We get deeply felt cheers for Auden, scotch, Marx, civil disobedience, Paul Wolfowitz, and the United States alongside scalding jeers for totalitarianism, organized religion, bullies, Michael Moore, narcotics, and the Clintons. With this in mind, I really don’t think there’s anybody out there who agrees with Hitch (yes, that’s what I call him) about everything, but his arguments always prompt deeper, revelatory thinking. The book also has plenty of vignettes both joyous and tragic, intellectual history (personal and otherwise), and--of course--fond reminiscences of famously brilliant friends.
Though Hitch states that he doesn’t have a gift for fiction, I can’t help but think that his facility with language and instinct for the subterranean would make for some thrillingly good novels. Then again, maybe he realized he doesn’t have to stoop to mere invention when he can instead regale us with turbo-literate remembrances of a big life saturated with wit, courage, absurdity, regret, and a profound sense of gratitude. Carry on then, Hitch; carry on.