cover image And Yet...: Essays

And Yet...: Essays

Christopher Hitchens. Simon & Schuster, $30 (560p) ISBN 978-1-4767-7206-6

Even several years removed from Hitchens's death in 2011, the provocative, probing, and prolific writer remains one of this era's most mesmerizing and combative social commentators and public intellectuals, as this collection vividly reminds readers. Brimming with laconic wit, drollery, and unapologetic, fiercely held viewpoints, these reviews and articles mostly originate from the '00s and first appeared in publications such as Slate, Vanity Fair (where he was a contributing editor), the Atlantic, and the New York Review of Books. The period was a tumultuous one for Hitchens: the staunch liberal dismayed many of his leftist friends by supporting the Iraq war; a committed atheist, he published his controversial but bestselling book, God Is Not Great, in 2007; and he was diagnosed with his fatal illness in 2010. Yet not even this last blow could stifle his prodigious output of wide-ranging observational essays. This collection includes glorious Wall Street Journal rant against Christmas; his insightful exploration of what makes the American South so distinctive; an unsentimental, wonderfully wry series on "self-improvement" as undertaken by the notoriously hard-drinking heavy smoker; and other examples of his ever-incisive, sometimes controversial opinions on society, world affairs, politicians, and authors. They add up to a fitting addition to Hitchens's legacy. (Nov.)