Letters from the Lunar Outpost

In all thy humours, whether grave or mellow, Thou art such a touchy, testy, pleasant fellow; Hast so much wit, and mirth, and spleen about thee, That there's no living with thee, or without thee.
- Martial, Roman Epigrammatic Poet (43-104 A.D.)

Christopher HitchensWhile he was with us, he had been called the greatest living essayist in the English language. Now as we look back on the career of Christopher Hitchens, while there could be a spirited debate as to the greatest essay writer of our times, but it’s pretty hard to argue that Hitchens wouldn’t make the short list.

In range of subjects and breadth of knowledge, Christopher Hitchens is unrivaled. Just as impressive to me however, is the fact that for all his talent as a writer, he never allowed himself to fall in love with his own reflections, always remaining completely focused on a direct communication with his reader.

“Arguably” is the final collection of essays published in Hitchens’ lifetime. No matter what your beliefs, in this book you’ll probably find quite a bit you agree with and more than a little with which you’ll contend, but even on the points of contention, I’ve never read a writer where my disagreement took so distant a back seat to the enjoyment of ride.

This is (arguably) Hitchens at his best, a massive collection of one-hundred and eight essays organized into an eclectic set of six headings. After having just finished the audiobook, the feeling for me is akin to completing a course with a great professor and knowing that, no matter how many years you may have remaining, the course you just enjoyed will never be surpassed.

Pick some random samples from the titles and help yourself. Consider these as appetizers to entice you to taking on the full course.

All American

Gods of Our Fathers: The United States of Enlightenment
The Private Jefferson
Jefferson Versus the Muslim Pirates
Benjamin Franklin: Free and Easy
John Brown: The Man Who Ended Slavery
Abraham Lincoln: Misery’s Child (first published as “Lincoln’s Emancipation”)
Mark Twain: American Radical
Upton Sinclair: A Capitalist Primer
JFK: In Sickness and by Stealth (Only online as Google Book preview w/missing pages)
Saul Bellow: The Great Assimilator
Vladimir Nabokov: Hurricane Lolita
John Updike, Part One: No Way
John Updike, Part Two: Mr. Geniality
Vidal Loco
America the Banana Republic
An Anglosphere Future
Political Animals
Old Enough to Die (Only online as Google Book preview w/missing pages)
In Defense of Foxhole Atheists
In Search of the Washington Novel

Eclectic Affinities

Isaac Newton: Flaws of Gravity
The Men Who Made England: Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall
Edmund Burke: Reactionary Prophet
Samuel Johnson: Demons and Dictionaries
Gustave Flaubert: I’m with Stupide
The Dark Side of Dickens
Marx’s Journalism: The Grub Street Years
Rebecca West: Things Worth Fighting For
Ezra Pound: A Revolutionary Simpleton
On Animal Farm (Jump to page 611.)
Jessica Mitford’s Poison Pen
W. Somerset Maugham: Poor Old Willie
Evelyn Waugh: The Permanent Adolescent
P. G. Wodehouse: The Honorable Schoolboy
Anthony Powell: An Omnivorous Curiosity
John Buchan: Spy Thriller’s Father
Graham Greene: I’ll Be Damned
Death from a Salesman: Graham Greene’s Bottled Ontology (Jump to page 820.)
Loving Philip Larkin (first published as “Philip Larkin, the Impossible Man”)
Stephen Spender: A Nice Bloody Fool
Edward Upward: The Captive Mind
C. L. R. James: Mid Off, Not Right On (Jump to page 919.)
J. G. Ballard: The Catastrophist
Fraser’s Flashman: Scoundrel Time
Fleet Street’s Finest: From Waugh to Frayn
Saki: Where the Wild Things Are
Harry Potter: The Boy Who Lived

Amusements, Annoyances, and Disappointments

Why Women Aren’t Funny
Stieg Larsson: The Author Who Played with Fire
As American as Apple Pie
So Many Men’s Rooms, So Little Time
The New Commandments
In Your Face
Wine Drinkers of the World, Unite
Charles, Prince of Piffle

Offshore Accounts

Afghanistan’s Dangerous Bet
First, Silence the Whistle-Blower
Believe Me, It’s Torture
Iran’s Waiting Game
Long Live Democratic Seismology
Benazir Bhutto: Daughter of Destiny
From Abbottabad to Worse
The Perils of Partition
Algeria: A French Quarrel
The Case of Orientalism (first published as “East is East”)
Edward Said: Where the Twain Should Have Met
The Swastika and the Cedar
Holiday in Iraq
Tunisia: At the Desert’s Edge
What Happened to the Suicide Bombers of Jerusalem?
Childhood’s End: An African Nightmare
The Vietnam Syndrome
Once Upon a Time in Germany
Worse Than Nineteen Eighty-four
North Korea: A Nation of Racist Dwarves
The Eighteenth Brumaire of the Castro Dynasty
Hugo Boss
Is the Euro Doomed?
Overstating Jewish Power
The Case for Humanitarian Intervention

Legacies of Totalitarianism

Victor Serge: Pictures from an Inquisition
André Malraux: One Man’s Fate
Arthur Koestler: The Zealot
Isabel Allende: Chile Redux (Jump to page 1571.)
The Persian Version
Martin Amis: Lightness at Midnight
Imagining Hitler
Victor Klemperer: Survivor
A War Worth Fighting
Just Give Peace a Chance?
W. G. Sebald: Requiem for Germany

Words’ Worth

When the King Saved God
Let Them Eat Pork Rinds
Stand Up for Denmark!
Eschew the Taboo
She’s No Fundamentalist
Burned Out
Easter Charade
Don’t Mince Words
History and Mystery
Words Matter
This Was Not Looting
The Other L-Word
The You Decade
Suck It Up
A Very, Very Dirty Word
Prisoner of Shelves

I hope you find this page a resource worth the bookmark. As for any worries you may have as to my sanity for the time it took me to collect all these links, as a resource for fans and an introduction to Hitchens for the unacquainted, I consider it well worth the effort.

If you don’t already own the book, hopefully this will inspire you to purchase a copy.

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