Hitch 22: A Memoir, by Christopher Hitchens (Twelve, 435 pp., $26.99)
Christopher Hitchens is truly sui generis: a popular television pundit, a raconteur par excellence, an unpredictable analyst of contemporary politics, a foreign reporter who has hit almost every hot spot in the past two decades, a confirmed atheist, and — perhaps above all — a gifted writer and essayist.
At one time, Hitchens was well known as a man of the political Left, an ally of Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, and Edward Said. Although he had already strayed from his early orthodox Trotskyist roots, his perspective was still well within the confines of acceptable leftism and his columns in The Nation were de rigueur for those looking for a smart take on issues from that point of view. Then came 9/11, and, like many others, Hitchens began to rethink many of his old assumptions. He soon emerged as a fierce defender of the invasion of Iraq even if carried out by George W. Bush. Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was consistent with his lifelong commitment to anti-fascism.