Why Orwell Matters by Christopher Hitchens

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In this widely acclaimed biographical essay, Christopher Hitchens assesses the life, the achievements, and the myth of the great political writer and participant George Orwell. In true emulative and contrarian style, Hitchens is both admiring and aggressive, sympathetic yet critical, taking true measure of his subject as hero and problem. Answering both the detractors and the false claimants, Hitchens tears down the fa�ade of sainthood erected by the hagiographers and rebuts the critics point by point. He examines Orwell and his perspectives on fascism, empire, feminism, and Englishness, as well as his outlook on America, a country and culture towards which he exhibited much ambivalence.

Whether thinking about empires or dictators, race or class, nationalism or popular culture, Orwell's moral outlook remains indispensable in a world that has undergone vast changes in the fifty years since his death. Combining the best of Hitchens's polemical punch and intellectual elegance in a tightly woven and subtle argument, this book addresses not only why Orwell matters today, but how he will continue to matter in a future, uncertain world.

Christopher Hitchens, one of the most incisive minds of our own age, meets Orwell on the page in this provocative encounter of wit, contention and moral truth.


About Christopher Hitchens

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CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS is the author of four collections of essays.
Published September 11, 2003 by Basic Books. 228 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, History, Crafts, Hobbies & Home. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Only Orwell’s antifascist polemics, Hitchens asserts, are less than memorable, perhaps because he tended to see fascism as “the distillation of everything that was most hateful and false in the society he already knew: a kind of satanic summa of military arrogance, racist solipsism, schoolyard bu...

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Publishers Weekly

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In the early part of his career, Orwell spent much of his time living down and out with the poor, recording their habits and conversations, and his own efforts to stay nourished and alive.

May 21 2012 | Read Full Review of Why Orwell Matters

Publishers Weekly

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Hitchens offers an excellent analysis of the writer's women, both real (his wives) and fictional, to show that the feminist critique of Orwell (that he didn't like strong, brainy women) may be unfair, though Hitchens also points out what feminists have ignored: Orwell's "revulsion for birth contr...

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Star Tribune

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Miller Special to the Star Tribune In "Why Orwell Matters," author and controversialist Christopher Hitchens takes a lot of detours on the way to fulfilling the promise of his title.

Nov 02 2002 | Read Full Review of Why Orwell Matters

Review (Barnes & Noble)

On this day in 1984, as the clocks struck thirteen, George Orwell's Winston Smith gulped down a teacup of VICTORY GIN, lit one of his VICTORY CIGARETTES, found a corner not in view of his telescreen, and turned to the first blank page of his diary: This was not illegal (nothing was illegal, sinc...

Apr 04 2012 | Read Full Review of Why Orwell Matters

London Review of Books

Taking up a comparison between Orwell and Adorno suggested a couple of years ago by James Miller (head of the department at the New School in New York where Hitchens teaches a course), Hitchens reflects that both men might have been surprised that ‘only half a century or so after the Hitler-Stali...

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California Literary Review

Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis Book Review: Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan Book Review: Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin I’ve been an Orwell fan for a long time, and your review makes me want to read this book.

Aug 28 2012 | Read Full Review of Why Orwell Matters

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