Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fast and Often Sad Ride with Brilliance

Imagine you are going 90 miles an hour in a sidecar, whizzing past scenes you barely know and the driver of the motorcycle is a brilliant British playboy atheist. That's the experience reading Hitch-22 gave me.
Hitchens, a native Brit, covers more political ground than the average American citizen pays attention to in a lifetime. And these are just the highlights. Photos of "Hitch" in many other countries, verbal snapshots of meetings with people we plebeians only know by reading of them in the paper or hearing their name in the news. These weighty journalistic exploits are interspersed with stories of his friend's private jokes that made this non-atheist blush more than once, and I must confess, let out a cackle or two.

A self proclaimed `contrarian', Christopher Hitchens endured the blistering reality of the English school system and a mother who committed suicide, only to emerge as a brilliant intellectual known for a rapier wit and an even sharper tongue, if possible, when it comes to religion, or totalitarianism, as he terms all religion. Discovering he had a Jewish heritage later in life, Mr. Hitchens devoted much of his energy to the study of "The Jewish Question".

As a believer, I certainly found a few things to take up argument with, but taking up sides against this man is no mean task. So I settled for common ground. Easily found. I thoroughly enjoyed a peek inside the mind of a man who said he tested his acquaintances on whether they felt their lives would be over if English Literature were to disappear. If only I were an acquaintance, I would pass on this criterion.
The Hitch? How to be totalitarian about being against Totalitariansim.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Grand Central Publishers in return for my review.

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