Cannonball Read IV: Arguably by Christopher Hitchens
The topics discussed were so wide in range, I'll admit I was skeptical that he would be able to a) keep my interest in topics I would not have chosen to read and b) address each topic with the same degree of insight and passion. I was wrong on both counts, and delightfully to be so. Waterboarding, Hitler, Marx, Graham Greene, the Flashman series, September the 11th - all discussed beautifully and insightfully. He even had essays on the Harry Potter series, and Stieg Larssen. It was a fascinating few days.
Mixed in with the more heady topics were those of the naughty sense of humor for which Hitchens is known, including my favorite piece: "As American as Apple Pie," a history of the American ascendancy of fellatio. Another famous piece, "Why Women Aren't Funny," was just as irreverent and well-written as the first time I read it.
Threads run through the essays, with allusions to Animal Farm, 1984, Evelyn Waugh, and September the 11th appearing often. I am grateful to Hitchens for introducing me to Rebecca West and Elmo Zumwalt, two authors I am eager to read.
I had a lot of respect for Mr. Hitchens before reading this collection of works. Now, however, I find myself mourning his passing as though he was a dear family friend. He is truly missed.
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