Prepared for the Worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports by Christopher Hitchens
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Overview: Hitchens has written a great deal of bracing good sense on politics & literature in the past decades. Much of it has been collected between the covers of this well-packed book. Since these pieces originally appeared in journals as wide-ranging as the TLS, Grand Street, Harper’s, Mother Jones, The Nation & Spectator, only the most avid admirer would be likely to have come across them all. In addition to the predictable, eloquent Reagan-bashing, there are thoughtful essays on Paul Scott & his Raj Quartet, the contradictions of George Orwell, the Brideshead phenomenon, that very independent-minded Israeli Professor Israel Shahak, Conor Cruise O’Brien, even something as up-to-date as a perceptive review of Bonfire of the Vanities. Hitchens writes clearly, from a well-stocked mind, & is free of the cant that affects many political journalists. Why the kinds of views that he & his very kindred spirit Alexander Cockburn express so well never receive an airing on TV, where they’d reach a much wider audience, remains a source of shame to a supposedly free medium. In any case, book & magazine readers can feel fortunate that publishers suffer no such self-imposed restraints.
Genre: Non-Fiction > General