Christopher Hitchens gehört zu den wenigen Journalisten, der von vielen geschätzt wurden, und der deshalb mit vielen Pominenten ein freundschaftliches Verhältnis hatte. Er war ein außergewöhnlicher Zeitzeuge, der versuchte seine sozialistische Gesinnung mit seinem ungewöhnlichen Leben in Einklang zu bringen - und scheiterte! Seine Erinnrerungen sind ungewöhnlich in ihrer Präzision und kontrovers in der Aussage, aber immer interessant.
Hitchens' life led him not only through the interesting times in his own country of birth, but a lot of places in the whole world were history happened: Cuba, Czechoslowakia, Bosnia, The Middle East and so on. Now I can imagine what shaped this man's versatile points of view. Hitchens grew from a predictable 68er to a experienced traveller, whose opinions on recent as well as past issues are worth reading, even if oneself disagrees with him.
After reading this I respect journalists a lot more, and envy them for their experiences; especially those that work abroad.
Was dieser Mann in seinem Leben erlebt und was er selber aus seinem Leben gemacht hat wird einem erst richtig beim Lesen dieses Buches klar. Oft kritisch, sehr oft auf direktem Konfrontationskurs mit Menschen jegliches Glaubens / jeglicher Meinung / politischer Richtung und dennoch von Allen geschätzt als brillanter Journalist mit einem nicht zu enden scheinenden Allgemeinwissen (von ein paar Schwächen abgesehen). Sein allzu früher Tod ist ein großer Verlust für die Welt. Wenn ich mit heut zu tage die Nachrichten anschaue denke ich mit einem leichten Grinsen oft daran, wie Hitch diese Zeit aus "Kontroversen und Debatten - Sicht" geliebt hätte. Oder um es in den Worten von Christopher Hitchens auszudrücken:"Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses."
Christopher Hitchens known to many as "Hitch" born in 1949 in Portsmouth, England was a highly acclaimed author and journalist of untouchable intransigence. A relentless and intelligent critic of the corrupt systems and manipulating figures in politics, society, religion et cetera all over the world. Starting out as a leftist student at Oxford Balliol college in the late 1960s he soon became a brilliant writer, debater and masterly accuser of worldwide abuse of power, assumption of authority, despotic political leaders, opportunism and totalitarianism and later with most public recognition and impact of religion.
Hitchen`s trenchant criticism and confrontative style- as strong-worded and uncompromising as it was- always was factual and to the very heart of the matter. His analysis of political regimes or situations in different countries was precise and with profound insight- including North Korea and war zones in near and middle east- which he knew from own experience because he went there. So he knew exactley what to adress in his many essays and books.
He was polemicist and provocative in the most eloquent style- intelligent and of strong public impact. His numerous debates with many of the most popular religious spokesmen became famous for their revealing and demonstrating quality and belong to the most entertaining discussions in front of an audience. Combatants in such debates regularly failed to keep up to his adroit logic of argument and precise rhetorical skills and most clerics and religious proponents simply did not have the enormous breadth of knowledge which he so splendidly displayed with ease and often striking humor. More than once his opponents ended up speechless or were proven incoherent- intellectually wracked in front of enthused or deranged spectators. This became known as the Hitchslap to his growing number of listeners and admirers.
Hitchens writing is always highly literate, full of wit and insight, entertaining and affecting. He covers a tremendous range of topics with depth and detailed analysis and comprehensive knowledge. That is true for his memoirs Hitch-22 as well.
Here the subject is the author himself and it is well-worth reading indeed. Hitchens was a strong bon vivant, a man intensely living, including whisky and cigarettes. Whatever he touched he was intensely involved with all attention and both physical and intellectual fervour. Noticeably he was authentic in all his engagements -he did really care about things- which all of us should consider most important. There is no doubt that his arguments are often infuriating, adequately sharp, always to the point, often illuminating, calling it like it is. He was called a contrarian by his publishers and in his memoirs he quotes Gustave Flaubert: "Contradiction is what keeps sanity in place"
The memoirs are just as erudite and joyful to read as it was to listen to him in his debates and interviews. And you still can do so thanks to modern media. Just find >Hitch on youtube for your pleasure and learning- if you like. The BBC interview with Jeremy Paxman is touching and shows quite well what an incorruptible free thinker and great and consequent human he was. A life truly well-lived.
Christopher Hitchens died on Thursday, December 15th 2011 in Texas aged 62. He will live on in his children, his large number of works and in the memory of friends, colleagues and his readers and fans worlwide.