Summary: This is a memoir in which Hitchens reflects on all the stages of his life and the people and places that played a major role. Interestingly, this is mainly focused on his professional and political life, avoiding much of the personal. He describes his relation with his parents, who he oddly refers to as Commander Hitchens and Yvonne. He talks about growing up as a student at a British boarding school and becoming politically awakened. As a young adult he quickly becomes very active in the worldwide socialist movement and visits many countries as part of solidarity actions, including working on a farm in Cuba. He also got an early start at his lifelong profession of writing. Hitchens wrote articles for his entire adult life and was able to participate in the grand discussions that surround major political events and catastrophes. He argued strongly with people on the right and on the left, trying to push forward his own idealist views of a better world.
He was uniquely positioned as an established liberal who supported the war in Iraq. He made several trips to the country and was convinced that Saddam Hussein had to be taken down, which put him at odds with the anti-war movement that surrounded him. He also became famous as one of the Four Horsemen of the Non-Apocalypse for speaking strongly against religion. He was active in many causes throughout his life and he discusses them with a precision that convinces me he kept a detailed diary.
What I Liked: I learned a lot about Hitchens' life before youtube and how he established himself in the political and journalistic spheres as someone worth listening to. It gives me a lot of context in understanding his positions in various debates and made me think about my own positions.
What I Didn't Like: Hitchens was married at least once, and had at least one kid, but beyond that I know almost nothing about his personal life after reading this book. It makes him feel incomplete.
Rating: Not for the average reader. Great for political science majors or fans of Hitchens.
Also Read by this Author: None.
Reviewed by: Nick