It's an uneven but impressive assortment that showcases both the strengths and idiosyncrasies of Hitchens' work...Like Vidal, Hitchens is a master of the acerbic apercus. His contrarianism can be refreshing, though it sometimes feels calcified.
He mixes the loquaciousness of the barfly with the fluency of the literary artist, and could not pen a dull sentence if he tried. Despite this virtuosity, the essays collected here are notably slighter than his usual output. A number of the political articles are too much Washington parish pump stuff to be really worth reprinting.
Hitchens was the keenest student of unintended consequences and his writing remains most alive when conveying the ironies of postcolonial history; ironies that had long led him to conclude, in the well-chosen final words of what may be the final collection of his work, that 'internationalism is the highest form of patriotism.'
A few essays, such as 'My Red-State Odyssey,' about the author’s travels through the South, 'where all politics is yokel,' either don’t add up to much or seem a bit off-the-mark. One wonders, as well, what this vocal supporter of the Iraq war would write about the once-again turbulent situation there today. Still, the overwhelming feeling this collection leaves is of a voice extinguished just when it was needed most — that of a matchless, uncompromising observer.