Book review: 'Arguably' by Christopher Hitchens

September 29th, 2011

Los Angeles Times
By Nick Owchar
Sept 28, 2011

Christopher Hitchens’ writings on politics and his public face on a variety of TV programs and in other forums have earned him manifold tags, not always favorable ones (depending on whom is bestowing them) — he’s been called a provocateur, a contrarian, a ranter, a polemicist, a traitor (by former friends on the Left who disagree with his view of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq). But the essays in “Arguably” remind us of other dimensions to this singular writer and thinker that are sometimes overshadowed by the range of his political commentary.

Though there are plenty of essays on politics to be found here, the book also treats us to other arrows in Hitchens’ proverbial quiver, including his bracing, exhilarating approach to important literary figures. He addresses not only his long-admired Orwell, but many other writers as well — popular and contemporary — which is why this book merits a lasting place on your bookshelf in company with collections such as John Bayley’s “The Power of Delight” or George Steiner’s “No Passion Spent.”

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