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8 March 1990
The Dialectic of Change 
by Boris Kagarlitsky, translated by Rick Simon.
Verso, 393 pp., £29.95, January 1990, 0 86091 258 2
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... At the close of the Fifties, the New Left put on a mass meeting in London, at which the star speaker was Isaac Deutscher and the slogan was ‘Into the Red Sixties’. At the close of the Seventies, there was a much-anticipated rally in Central Hall, Westminster, unironically billed as ‘The Debate of the Decade’, between Tony Benn and the leaders of the supposed British extra-parliamentary opposition ...
25 October 1990
Crossman: The Pursuit of Power 
by Anthony Howard.
Cape, 361 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 224 02592 9
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... On 22 February 1965, the fifth month of Harold Wilson’s first ministry, Richard Crossman recorded the following in his Diaries of a Cabinet Minister: Then Harold Wilson raised the issue of Anthony Howard. He has just been appointed by the Sunday Times to be the first Whitehall correspondent in history, looking into the secrets of the Civil Service rather than leaking the secrets of the politicians ...

Diary

Jeremy Harding: Hitchens

31 March 2011
... I heard a few bars of Chris Corner’s song ‘I Salute You Christopher’ a day or so before the new IAMX album, Volatile Times, was released. The song, which appears on the album, is subtitled ‘Ode to ChristopherHitchens’: I salute you Christopher I salute your ...

It’s Been a Lot of Fun

David Runciman: Hitchens’s Hitchens

24 June 2010
Hitch-22: A Memoir 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Atlantic, 435 pp., £20, June 2010, 978 1 84354 921 5
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... In his book about religion, Peter Hitchens has a lot more to say about his brother Christopher than Christopher has to say about Peter in his book about himself.* ‘Some brothers get on,’ Peter writes mournfully, ‘some do not. We were the sort that just didn’t.’ He continues: At one stage – I was ...

Opportunities

David Gilmour

1 June 1989
Prepared for the worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 357 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 7011 3459 3
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... Hitchens was right to go West. He needed lusher plains of political corruption across which to spread himself. He needed a country of wide horizons and myopic international vision. And he needed an ...

Further Left

R.W. Johnson

16 August 1990
Prepared for the worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Hogarth, 357 pp., £9.99, July 1990, 0 7012 0903 8
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Blood, Class and Nostalgia: Anglo-American Ironies 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 398 pp., £18, July 1990, 0 7011 3361 9
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... he did not know my name, so I was ‘the red-headed comrade’ – and rather capsized the whole evening. Not long after, the discussion group was disbanded. The gatecrasher’s name, we learnt, was ChristopherHitchens, and he apparently did this sort of thing rather often, being famous for a sort of pyrotechnic brashness. Looking back, one realises that these were entirely apposite qualities for the ...

Against it

Ross McKibbin

24 February 1994
For the Sake of Argument 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Verso, 353 pp., £19.95, May 1993, 0 86091 435 6
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... ChristopherHitchens may not be ‘the nearest thing to a one-man band since I.F. Stone laid down his pen’, but he comes close. For the Sake of Argument records a life of action, of being in the right place at the ...
9 January 1992
Lost Property: Memoirs and Confessions of a Bad Boy 
by Ben Sonnenberg.
Faber, 217 pp., £14.99, November 1991, 0 571 16545 1
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... On the lovely covers of the old Grand Street – a name derived from poor Jewish immigrant New York but still somehow redolent of capacity and generosity – there was the logo of a mettlesome goat. As I grew to know Ben Sonnenberg, so I grew to appreciate this animal. Impatient and randy as it is well-known to be, the goat is above all an omnivore. I have never inquired of Ben what his ambition might ...

Thousands of Cans and Cartons

Christopher Hitchens

24 May 1990
Against the Grain: An Autobiography 
by Boris Yeltsin, translated by Michael Glenny.
Cape, 215 pp., £12.95, March 1990, 0 224 02749 2
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... Several years ago, Tariq Ali published an exquisite interview with a disillusioned veteran of the Indian Communist Party. This old comrade had been invited to Moscow by Khrushchev, and wanted a chance to express his misgivings about the treatment of Boris Pasternak. During a Bolshoi performance in which Khrushchev was showing no interest, he seized his moment. In vain. No, said the burly peasant, I ...

‘No Bullshit’ Bullshit

Stefan Collini: Christopher Hitchens, Englishman

23 January 2003
Orwell's Victory 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Allen Lane, 150 pp., £9.99, June 2002, 9780713995848
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... Winning is very important to ChristopherHitchens. Dr Johnson was said to ‘talk for victory’, and by all accounts it seems the same might be said of Hitchens. He certainly writes for victory. His preferred genre is the polemic; his favoured tone mixes forensic argument with high-octane contempt. And no one can accuse him of only picking on boys his own ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: Reagan and Rambo

3 October 1985
... The standard image of President Ronald Reagan as a game but fuddled movie actor is an image so stale as to be rebarbative. It is the standby of the weary cartoonist, the flagging gag-writer and the composer of hackneyed captions. It’s been a boast of mine, during some years of writing from Washington, that I have never lampooned the old boy as a Wild West ham, an All-American kid, a granite-jawed ...

Liber Amoris

Christopher Hitchens

28 May 1992
The Russian Girl 
by Kingsley Amis.
Hutchinson, 296 pp., £14.99, April 1992, 0 09 174536 5
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... Two core propositions occupy the centre of Sir Kingsley’s fiction, and are doggedly reflected in his occasional journalism, his memoirs, his poetry and his conversation. Rendered as questions, these propositions make it vitally necessary to ask, of everything: ‘Is it any good?’ and ‘Is it nice, or is it nasty?’ (Amazingly, he himself answers in the affirmative when these questions concern ...

The Positions He Takes

John Barrell: Hitchens​ on Paine

30 November 2006
Thomas Paine’s ‘Rights of Man’: A Biography 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Atlantic, 128 pp., £9.99, July 2006, 1 84354 513 6
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... If the rights of man are to be upheld in a dark time, we shall require an age of reason,’ wrote ChristopherHitchens last year on the dust jacket of Harvey Kaye’s recent book on Paine.* And as if to reinforce that message, he has now himself published a little book on Paine, a ‘biography’ of Rights of Man. It ...

Simply too exhausted

Christopher Hitchens

25 July 1991
Edwina Mountbatten: A Life of Her Own 
by Janet Morgan.
HarperCollins, 509 pp., £20, July 1991, 0 00 217597 5
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... about any vessel in the wartime Royal Navy, all of which have annual reunions for as long as the ship’s complement can make it to the club. I here intrude a reminiscence of the late Commander Eric Hitchens RN, who served briefly with Mountbatten. He asked one sailor what the boss was like. ‘He leaves us alone,’ said the jolly tar after a thoughtful pause. (And what does ‘willingly’ mean in that ...
20 September 2001
The Trial of Henry Kissinger 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Verso, 159 pp., £15, May 2001, 1 85984 631 9
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... In this short book, ChristopherHitchens sets down the main charges against Kissinger: murder, violation of human rights and complicity in mass atrocities on a scale equalled only by Eichmann, Heydrich and the like. As Hitchens admits, he ...

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