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HE then wrote two articles, included at the end of this book, that represent a low point in his long career.In October 2001, when he visited Pakistan, all his subtlety and street wisdom left him, all his wit was gone.
Although more than a dozen of these articles appeared before 9/11, "Love, Poverty, and War" is nonetheless overshadowed by that day and by Hitchens's response to it.
THIS collection of Christopher Hitchens's journalism, written for a number of publications between 19, is an interesting and varied showcase of his work as a polemicist, a reporter and a literary critic.
Like all polemicists, Hitchens is happiest when he has an enemy and least happy when he is most content.
Thus the weakest piece in this book is his account of a journey along Route 66, which he seemed to enjoy, despite wearing pink socks.
Hitchens began the nineties as a "darling of the Left" but has become more of an "unaffiliated radical" whose targets include those on the Left, who he accuses of "fudging" the issue of military intervention in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Yet, as Hitchens shows in his reportage, cultural and literary criticism, and opinion essays from the 1990s to 2004, he has not jumped ship and joined the Right but is faithful to the internationalist, contrarian and democratic ideals that have always informed his work.--From publisher description The medals of his defeats -- A man of permanent contradictions -- The old man -- Huxley and Brave New World -- Greeneland -- Scoop -- The man of feeling -- The misfortune of poetry -- The acutest ear in Paris -- Joyce in bloom -- The immortal -- It happened on Sunset -- The ballad of Route 66 -- The adventures of Augie March -- Rebel ghosts -- America's poet?
His surprisingly measured essay on David Irving, the historian who denied the Holocaust, has all the hallmarks of Orwell's method -- to be deeply suspicious, first of all, of your own prejudices before you begin to approach the prejudices of others. He enjoys a fundamental belief in American freedoms; he can use the phrase "our republic" without irony. "The bombers of Manhattan," he writes, "represent fascism with an Islamic face, and there's no point in any euphemism about it." He now had two new sets of archenemies, the bombers themselves and those in the United States who took the view that the atrocities were a result of American foreign policy.
He can end an essay entitled "Jewish Power, Jewish Peril" with remarks about "the cliché about Jews' being inherently and intuitively smart. In the months after 9/11, Hitchens ran a campaign of shock and awe against these people, most of it passionate and, even in retrospect, persuasive.
He does rather better in his trip along Sunset Boulevard.
"If you can fake it here," he writes, "you can fake it anywhere." His tastes and his attitudes are complex: he clearly loves American movies and music; he can enjoy the dizzy hilarity of things, being a connoisseur of irony and duplicity; he can also be immensely fair-minded and calmly intelligent; and, on his pet subjects, he can be mean.