For the Sake of Argument
Essays and Minority Reports
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|Format: ||Paperback, 368 pages, New edition Edition|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 25 July 1994|
The global turmoil of the last few years has severely tested every analyst and commentator. Few have written with such insight as Christopher Hitchens about the large events - or with such discernment and wit about the small tell-tale signs of a disordered culture. "For the Sake of Argument" ranges from the political squalor of Washington - as a beleagured administration seeks desperately to stave off discredit and disaster - to the twilight of Stalinism in Prague, and from the Jewish quarter of Damascus in the aftermath of the Gulf War to the embattled barrios of Central America as a difficult peace was being negotiated with ruthless foes. Hitchen's account of Western "realpolitik" in the Gulf or Indo-China shows it to rest on delusion, as well as deception. The reader should find in these pages outstanding essays on political assassination in America, as well as a devastating indictment of the evisceration of politics by pollsters and spin doctors. Hitchens' knowledge of the tortuous history of revolutions in the 20th century helps him to explain both the New York intelligensia's flirtation with Trotskyism and the frailty of communist power structures in Eastern Europe. Hitchens provides re-assessments of Grahame Greene, P.G. Woodhouse and C.L.R. James. His "rogues' gallery" gives us portraits of "Dr Kissinger", Mother Theresa, Paul Johnson and P.J. O'Rouke. "For the Sake of Argument" collects together writings which appeared in a wide variety of journals, including "Granta", "The Nation", "Harpers", "Grand Street", "Times Literary Supplement", "The London Review of Books", "Z" and "The New Left Review". The author supplies a new introduction.
About the Author
Christopher Hitchens is a journalist living in Washington. He writes the Cultural Elite column for Vanity Fair and the Minority Report column for The Nation. His other books are Hostage to History: Cyprus from the Ottomans to Kissinger; Prepared for the Worst; Blood, Class and Nostalgia: Anglo-American Ironies; and (with Adam Bartos) International Territory: Official Utopia and the United Nations.
A political journalist of the first rank, Hitchens excoriates a Washington elite that evinces contempt for citizens and voters. He gauges the vast damage the CIA has done to American democracy, faults George Bush for his years of coddling Saddam Hussein's brutal regime and sizes up then-Governor Bill Clinton as a shameless ``calculating opportunist.'' This roundup of articles and reviews from the Nation, Harper's , the Washington Post and elsewhere is a rogues' gallery featuring acid profiles of Richard Nixon, Ross Perot, Margaret Thatcher and former Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry. Hitchens reserves his fiercest scorn for Henry Kissinger, who helped subvert Chilean democracy, betrayed the Kurds and colluded with Indonesia in its genocidal invasion of East Timor. In essays on Salman Rushdie, James Baldwin, John Updike and Graham Greene, Hitchens proves himself an adventurous prober of the Zeitgeist. (June)
"Displays the intelligence, invective and stubborn common sense Mr Hitchens brings to his commentaries, be they about the political scene in Washington, the soap-opera travail of the British Royal family or a novel by George Eliot." - New York Times "One easily forgets just how good Christopher Hitchens is ... multilingual, well-travelled, hyper-educated, pissed-off, always funny, he has no equal in American journalism, and this book proves it." - Voice Literary Supplement "The fiercely independent-minded Hitchens provides reams of fuel for intellectual conflagration, couched in the luxurious excess of humour ... progressive journalism as it was meant to be." - The Nation "The test of this kind of book is for the reader to be able to open it anywhere and be drawn into the argument; it's a test that Hitchens passes time and time again.... He can be devilishly funny, but he is also capable of writing with acid seriousness." - Independent on Sunday "Hitchens rejoices without inhibition in the pleasure of hating and knows that satire is murder by other means.... A pen like this is more lethal than most swords." - The Observer
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