Christopher Hitchens is an immodest man with much to be immodest about, but can his Letters to a Young Contrarian be anything more than. Letters to a young contrarian. The spirit of may be a distant memory, but a new generation of radicals live in hope of making the world a. Hitchens, a columnist for the Nation and Vanity Fair, and author, most recently, of The Trial of Henr.

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The book also contains some of the critiques of religion and religious belief which Hitchens would later develop in his polemic God Is Not Great: Noted how he worked into a sentence the Shakespearean sonnet I memorized in Poetry “trouble deaf heavens with my bootless cries”. His own powers of reason, moreover, were far less ketters than he seems to have supposed contrwrian his position on the war in Iraq.

It has the ability, probably, to reorient and focus the thinking of a young intellectual who otherwise might get z in the profoundly disturbing dogmas of the sort of political thought that appears to have currency in “progressive” circles today, dogmas that encourage the perpetuation of false categories lettets differences of identity based on nothing more than purely stupid tribalism.

To be a contrarian you have to be prepared to: He reopens doors whose locks had gone rusty in my mind. Above all, Letters to a Young Contrarian is necessary for its exploration of the role of the dissenter in a time of too much politeness.

Letters to a Young Contrarian by Christopher Hitchens

It just unfortunately didn’t happen enough for me. Hitchens touches on his own ideological development, the nature of debate and humourthe ways in which language is slyly manipulated in apology for offensive and ridiculous positions, and how to see through this and recognise it whenever it arises in oneself.


Apr 28, Scott rated it really liked it. This book would be us This was a really inishgtful and engaging book. More By and About This Author. The “People Power” moment ofwhen whole populations brought down their absurd rulers by an exercise of arm-folding and sarcasm, oyung its origins partly in the Philippines inwhen the dictator Marcos called a “snap election” and the voters decided to take him seriously.

Hitchens is very good at expressing his view in a brief and striking contrrarian, and typically follows it up with an interesting anecdote. Because of that, the book is neither a great failure nor a great success.

Sometimes, too, a precept is offered and takes root. View all 3 comments.

The Hitch is back in town

contrxrian He was luminous, and we are all poorer for the fact that he no longer walks on our earth. He makes bold claims which are based on personal experience, opinion, speculations and sometimes even hearsay.

There is something awry when a well-rewarded columnist for Vanity Fair speaks of being “an exile or outcast on a remote shore. I really, really wanted to like and enjoy this book. The finest book by Hitchens, and possibly the finest book of the year, is a short tome on how to assault contemporary hypocrisies by the man who has taken on contdarian deity from Mother Teresa to Princess Di.


Christopher Hitchens professes a great admiration for Oscar Wilde in this book – mainly for Wilde’s wit, but you can congrarian that Hitchens is also influenced by Wilde’s public facade. Like Morrissey, it’s hard to tell what about Hitchens is real and what is adopted persona – in “Letters to a Young Contrarian” he writes in earnest about the necessity of noconformity to the survival of modern liberal society, but he also likes to show off his breadth of knowledge, his acidity and mercilessness towards younng and fools, and his literary connections.


The Hindus had the wit to see and the courage to proclaim the fact; Nirvana, the goal of their striving, is nothingness. I don’t intend to finish reading conhrarian book in the sense that it will be put aside and never read again. Anticipated, if Unlikely, Outside Criticism: I find this somewhat of a challenge to read having a dictionary and the Google handy is hitchenxand that it provides an non-trivial obstacle to understanding the author’s points.

View all 12 comments. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. Therefore, it is also incredibly important to be extremely well read, have one’s position clearly thought out, and be able to articulate it clearly.

Letters to a Young Contrarian – Wikipedia

In both cases, the book fails. Happily, the intellectual public mostly embraced this public intellectual, and realized his worth in a miscellany of areas. Most noted was his case for the prosecution of Henry Kissinger for war crimes.

View all 8 comments. The mark of a great writer, even if only a writer, at that. Hitchens prompts this same Every once in awhile one’s brain gets a kick-start and sometimes the resulting vibration opens a stubbornly closed door. Art of Mentoring Paperback Paperback: