For the Sake of Argument: Essays and Minority Reports

Overview

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 beleaguered Bush administration seeks desperately to stave off disaster and Clinton prepares for power; to the twilight of Stalinism in ...

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Overview

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 beleaguered Bush administration seeks desperately to stave off disaster and Clinton prepares for power; to the twilight of Stalinism in Prague; from the Jewish quarter of Damascus in the aftermath of the Gulf War to the embattled barrios of Central America and the imperishable resistance of Sarajevo, as a difficult peace is negotiated with ruthless foes. Hitchens’s unsparing account of Western realpolitik in the end shows it to rest on delusion as well as deception.

The reader will find in these pages outstanding essays on political assassination in America as well as a scathing review of the evisceration of politics by pollsters and spin-doctors. Hitchens’s knowledge of the tortuous history of revolutions in the twentieth century helps him explain both the New York intelligentsia’s flirtation with Trotskyism and the frailty of Communist power structures in Eastern Europe.

Hitchens’s pointed reassessments of Graham Greene, P. G. Wodehouse and C. L. R. James, or his riotous celebration of drinking and smoking, display an engaging enthusiasm and an acerbic wit. Equally entertaining is his unsparing rogues’ gallery, which gives us unforgettable portraits of the lugubrious “Dr.” Kissinger, the comprehensively reactionary “Mother” Teresa, the preposterous Paul Johnson and the predictable P. J. O’Rourke.

Few political commentators have written with such insight about major events as Christopher Hitchens--or with such discernment and wit about the small tell-tale signs of a disordered culture. This widely acclaimed collection of Hitchen's writing is now available in paperback.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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

“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

“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

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780860916284
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 9/17/1994
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Hitchens is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and the author of the best-selling God Is Not Great. His books published by Verso include The Trial of Henry Kissinger, No One Left to Lie To, The Missionary Position, Unacknowledged Legislation, The Parthenon Marbles, Hostage to History, and more.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Studies in Demoralization
Where Were You Standing? 7
On the Imagination of Conspiracy 12
Contempt for the Little Colony 24
The State Within the State 31
Voting in the Passive Voice 38
The Hate that Dare Not Speak Its Name 51
A Pundit Who Need Never Dine Alone 55
Hard on the Houseboy 57
New Orleans in a Brown Shirt 59
Rioting in Mount Pleasant 61
Billionaire Populism 63
The Clemency of Clinton 65
Clinton as Rhodesian 68
Bill's Bills in Miami 70
2 The Power and the Glory
Realpolitik in the Gulf: A Game Gone Tilt 75
Churchillian Delusions 84
No End of a Lesson 87
Befriending the Kurds 89
Arise, Sir Norman 91
Jewish in Damascus 93
Songs Fit For Heroes 96
Hating Sweden 98
Squeezing Costa Rica 100
The Saviour 102
Tio Sam 105
The Autumn of the Patriarch 108
Third Thoughts 111
3 The Cunning of History
Cretinismo Eroico 117
The Twilight of Panzerkommunismus 119
Police Mentality 125
On the Road to Timisoara 128
Bricks in the Wall 135
The Free Market Cargo Cult 138
How Neo-conservatives Perish 140
Appointment in Sarajevo 148
4 No Class: Toryism Today
'Society' and Its Enemies 159
Credibility Politics: Sado-Monetarist Economics 161
Union Jackshirt: Ingham's Conservative Chic 169
Neil Kinnock: Defeat Without Honour 173
Bribing and Twisting 176
5 Coach Into Pumpkin: The Fairy Tale Reviewed
How's the Vampire? 183
Charlie's Angel 188
Unhappy Families 189
Princess of Dysfunction 193
6 Ideas and Interests
New York Intellectuals and the Prophet Outcast 199
Clubland Intellectuals 207
The 'We' Fallacy 216
Shouting Anarchy 221
Politically Correct 225
Friend of Promise 227
Booze and Fags 233
7 Rogues' Gallery
Nixon: Maestro of Resentment 243
Kissinger: A Touch of Evil 247
Berlin's Mandate for Palestine 255
Ghoul of Calcutta 258
The Life of Johnson 260
A Grave Disappointment All Round 265
Too Big For His Boot 271
P.J. O'Rourke : Not Funny Enough 278
Not Funny Enough (2) 280
Warhol in One Dimension 282
8 Critical Resources
Siding with Rushdie 289
Goya's Radical Pessimism 302
Degenerate Art 304
James Baldwin: Humanity First 307
Updike on the Make 310
P.G. Wodehouse in Love, Poverty and War 312
Greene: Where the Shadow Falls 316
Kazuo Ishiguro 320
Victor Serge 322
C.L.R. James 325
In Defence of Daniel Deronda 327
Index 341
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