Letters to a Young Contrarian

By Christopher Hitchens | Go to book overview

Preface

My dear X, Now that it's time to launch this little paper boat onto the tide, I thought I would write you a closing letter by way of beginning. While the book has been with its editors and printers, I have been occupied on several other fronts, as you know. And a stray question of yours floated into my mind: How do I respond when I see myself or my efforts abused or misrepresented in the public prints?

The brief answer is that I have become inured without becoming indifferent. I attack and criticise people myself; I have no right to expect lenience in return. And I don't believe those authors who say that they don't care about reviews or notices. However, it does tire me to read, time and again, reviews and notices that are based on clippings from earlier reviews and notices. Thus, there's always an early paragraph, usually written in a standard form of borrowed words, that says "Hitchens, whose previous targets have even included Mother Teresa and Princess Diana as well as Bill Clinton, now turns to ...."

Of course, as you guessed, this is dispiriting. For one thing, it bores me to see my supposed "profession" reduced to recycling. Nobody ever even has the originality

-vii-

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Letters to a Young Contrarian
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction xi
  • I 1
  • II 13
  • III 19
  • IV 27
  • V 35
  • VI 41
  • VII 47
  • VIII 53
  • IX 55
  • X 61
  • IX 69
  • XII 79
  • XIII 85
  • XIV 95
  • XV 105
  • XVI 115
  • XVII 123
  • XVIII 127
  • Envoi 139
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