Over the course of his 60 years, Hitchens has been both a foreign correspondent in some of the world's most dangerous places and a legendary bon vivant with an unquenchable thirst for alcohol and literature. This is the story of his life, lived large.
Hitch-22 is among the loveliest paeans to the dearness of one’s friends — Mr. Hitchens’s close ones include Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and the poet James Fenton — I’ve ever read. The business and pleasure sides of Mr. Hitchens’s personality can make him seem, whether you agree with him or not, among the most purely alive people on the planet.
Hitchens represents a far more noble intellectual tradition: the rapscallion iconoclast. Being able to shape-change, shed skins, sit on the hillside overlooking suburbia like a coyote, Hitchens represents a dying breed of public intellectual whose voice matters precisely because it can’t be easily pigeonholed or ignored ... At the core of Hitch-22 are Hitchens’s British anxieties about class and decline of empire ... But, in truth, Hitch-22 shows us more how Hitchens is a great pamphleteer — like Thomas Paine — rallying against perceived social injustice and religious fanaticism. While his targets are sometimes wrong — like Mother Theresa — his originality of argument is always refreshing.
Hitchens has plucked the gowans fine but he has also travelled to enough war zones and disaster areas to know whereof he speaks, and to speak with authority and purpose; his frame of reference is enormous, his tenacity, courage and loyalty exemplary and, as anyone familiar with his work can attest, he is a master of the English sentence. I try to think of an autobiography I've enjoyed as much and the only contender that springs to mind is that of Anthony Burgess.