One of the most controversial figures of his time, Christopher Hitchens’ books are now available in audiobook form, with some of them on Speechify.
There haven’t been many people more interesting and, in turn, more controversial than Christopher Hitchens. For those unaware of Hitchens, he was a British-American polemicist, journalist, debater, and author of numerous books on social issues that plague the modern world. Some of his most notable works include The Trial of Henry Kissinger and The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. And although the focus of his work was on serious topics, he wasn’t a stranger to comedy, being himself a rather funny person at times.
Of course, being as controversial as Hitchens was, it’s safe to assume that he wasn’t a saint. In fact, he didn’t believe in them. He was rather vocal about atheism and himself being an anti-theist. His stance on war would shift from time to time, depending on whether it was in the Middle East or the Balkans. Moreover, Hitchens would simultaneously support and criticize American presidents like Bill Clinton and Bush, making for an even more interesting figure.
The significance of the late British-American author Christopher Hitchens
Born in Portsmouth, England as Christopher Eric Hitchens, Hitch, as was his nickname, was one of the most prominent public intellectuals in Britain. Although a son of an English Royal Navy commander, Hitchens became a Trotskyist as soon as he enrolled in Balliol College, Oxford in the late 60s. He finished his studies with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics, and economics in 1970, and moved to London to work as a journalist.
The early days of his career comprised working at various news agencies and magazines. Some of his most important roles during those days were working at left-wing New Statesman magazine, the Daily Express, as well as being a contributor to The Atlantic, The Slate, and The Nation, for which he wrote his Minority Report column while in New York and Washington.
One of Hitchens’ early notable acts was his public defense of Salman Rushdie, his friend, who wrote The Satanic Verses. Hitchens’ stance was clear—he was in favor of free expression, regardless of whether he agreed with it. Several years later, he would become the contributing editor for Vanity Fair magazine, as well as publishing two of his seminal works In The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice and The Trial of Henry Kissinger.
During the 90s and early 2000s, Hitchens would often appear on television, debating other intellectuals as well as commenting on political events in the world. His popular works from that time include Why Orwell Matters, Thomas Jefferson: Author of America, Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man, and God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. He also formed an atheist quartet with Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett.
The books Christopher Hitchens is best known for
Although Christopher Hitchens wrote many books, essays, and interesting articles, we can’t cover all of them. In fact, we can only summarize five of his most notable books, but they will be more than enough to introduce you to him and his intriguing views of the world. Of course, some of these are available on Speechify in audiobook form for listening.
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007)
In his 2007 book, God Is Not Great, Hitchens makes his case about organized religion and why it’s the root of all evil on Earth. He suggests that it’s irrational and intolerant, and allies itself with tribalism and racism to prevent human progress. It consists of 19 chapters, and the main focus is Abrahamic religions, but he also briefly touches on Eastern faiths.
Hitch-22: A Memoir (2010)
For those in line with Hitchens’ views, his 2010 memoir Hitch-22 is probably the best book they can come across. Unfortunately for Hitchens, it was his last book. Its promotional tour was cut short due to his esophageal cancer diagnosis. In fact, you can listen to it right here on Speechify, with the narration done by none other than the author himself.
The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever (2007)
Released in 2007, The Portable Atheist is a compilation of various atheist and agnostic works, edited by Christopher Hitchens. The book includes works by the likes of Benedict de Spinoza, Bertrand Russell, Karl Marx, Albert Einstein, Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins, as well as original pieces by Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan.
Letters to a Young Contrarian (2001)
Inspired by his time at The New School in New York, Letters to a Young Contrarian addresses the reader—to My Dear X—and explains various debate methods and contrarian stances that one can take when confronting others. The book references various great thinkers, including George Orwell and Émile Zola, who inspired Hitchens and helped him form his views.
The Trial of Henry Kissinger (2001)
In case you’re looking for Hitchens at his most controversial, you should listen to The Trial of Henry Kissinger right here on Speechify. It’s a book about the supposed war crimes of the former National Security Advisor and US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Hitchens positions himself as the prosecutor as he accuses Kissinger of war crimes in Vietnam, Chile, and other countries.
Hitchens’ controversial political views and activism
Hitchens was full of controversial claims and ideas, there’s no doubt about it. He would accuse the Catholic Church of fascism, he would predict Donald Trump’s presidency back in 2000, as well as critique Noam Chomsky, and even the European Union at times. Yet, his most infamous political views were the support of the Western intervention against Yugoslavia in the 90s and Iraq in 2003.
The legacy Hitchens left behind
Hitchens left an undeniable trace on how we perceive the past several decades—be it politically, sociologically, or in any other way. Nevertheless, he is most fondly remembered as a free-speech fighter. Although it would often get him into trouble, he was open to saying anything that was on his mind if he deemed it necessary.
What happened to Christopher Hitchens?
Christopher Hitchens died of cancer in Houston, in 2011.
Was Christopher Hitchens a Marxist?
Although he flirted with various political ideologies and ideas over the years, Hitchens considered himself a Marxist until his death.
What did Christopher Hitchens say about Princess Diana?
Hitchens considered Princess Diana to be a silly, trivial woman, and he didn’t pay much attention to her up until her death and the media coverage of the accident. It was only then that he started talking about her in a rather negative way, spouting various insults.