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CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS in conversation with Paul Holdengraber

June 4, 2010

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Christopher Hitchens, tackling nearly everything with unmatched enthusiasm, erudition and, at times venom, has up to now barely touched upon one subject: his own life.

After many years writing about world issues and traveling to some of the most dangerous places on the planet, comes his memoir Hitch-22.  Though Hitchens can navigate any argument  with great dexterity, his memoir focuses on those whom he has loved, those he has abhorred, and those who have helped shape him throughout his life. The memoir answers this question: How the hell did Christopher Hitchens become Christopher Hitchens?

With tenderness he writes about his parents -his mother Yvonne, in particular, “a beautiful woman who loves me” and about his father, Commander Hitchens, whose “liver was that of a hero.” In a form that is anything but shy, Hitchens describes his complex and warm relationship with his mother, whose Jewish heritage he discovered only after her suicide.

The memoir naturally touches upon friendships, both lost and found over the course of his life.  Hitchens' many sketches of friendships and ex-friendships from Martin Amis to Noam Chomsky, Edward Said to Gore Vidal are delivered in a style that is at once ironic, witty and tough-minded.  A legendary bon vivant with an unquenchable thirst for literature, Hitchens has at times ridiculed those who claim the personal is political, even though he has often seemed to illustrate that very idea.

Paul Holdengräber, in conversation with Christopher Hitchens, will goad him to help bring into focus the many sides of Hitch, thereby illustrating Robert Frost's dictum that "a liberal is a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel."

 



Christopher Hitchens was born in Portsmouth, England and worked in Britain as book reviewer for the Times, and chief foreign correspondent for the Daily Express. After emigrating to the United States in 1981, he wrote the “Minority Report” column for The Nation. Since 1992, he has been columnist and contributing editor at Vanity Fair and, at different times, Washington editor and columnist for Harper’s magazine, American columnist and correspondent for the Spectator, the New Statesman, the Times Literary Supplement, Sunday Today, and the Sunday Correspondent. Hitchens writes regularly for the Atlantic Monthly and Slate, and is the author of God is Not Great, Letters to a Young Contrarian and Why Orwell Matters.

 



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