cover image A Hitch in Time: Reflections Ready for Reconsideration

A Hitch in Time: Reflections Ready for Reconsideration

Christopher Hitchens. Twelve, $30 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5387-5765-9

This acerbic posthumous anthology from cultural critic Hitchens (And Yet...) brings together previously uncollected essays, book reviews, and letters originally published in the London Review of Books between 1983 and 2002. Hitchens’s caustic reports tackle pop culture and politics with equal verve; for example, he derides the Oscars as a dull “pseudo-spectacle” after attending the 1995 ceremony and bemoans George H.W. Bush’s prayer meeting with Billy Graham on the eve of Desert Storm: “Every time that a conflict impends in any formerly biblical land, this elderly nuisance starts driveling about the last days and the end of time.” Hitchens’s literary critiques are similarly unsparing, as when he argues that journalist Tom Wolfe, whom Hitchens blames for inspiring “a whole school of lycanthropic scribblers,” floundered in the conservative 1980s because the progressive politics he needled no longer dominated mainstream political discourse. The selections testify to Hitchens’s incomparable snark, as well as his unwaveringly lucid analysis, such as when he excoriates the Clinton administration for responding to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing with the “language of therapy and recovery” instead of cracking down on the white supremacist militia movement that the perpetrators belonged to. The result is a potent reminder of Hitchens’s considerable talents. (Jan.)