David Runciman reviews Hitch-22 in the London Review of Books

A splendid piece:

Hitchens knows his own taste is for just enough political adventure to get the juices flowing, but not so much that long-lasting personal hardship might come his way. Even when he’s not really enjoying himself, he needs to be sure of finding a way to enjoy himself.

It certainly sounds like it has all been a lot of fun. His has been an enviable life: not just all the drink and the sex and the travel and the comradeship and the minor fame (surely the preferable kind), but also the endless round of excitements and controversies, the feuding and falling-out and grudge-bearing and score-settling, the chat-show put-downs, the dinner party walk-outs, the stand-up rows. Christopher Hitchens has clearly had a great time being Christopher Hitchens. But – and I don’t want to sound too po-faced about this – should anyone’s life be quite so much fun, especially when it is meant to be a kind of political life? Hitchens admits to some regrets, including that he has not been a better father to his children (and by implication a better husband to his wives, though he doesn’t actually say that), but he doesn’t seem to have agonised about it much. In fact, he doesn’t seem to have agonised much about anything. He doesn’t rationalise his political shifts so much as acquiesce in them: if it feels like he has no choice, then he has no choice but to follow his feelings. He has seen his fair share of misery and despair, and may have caused a certain amount of it himself, but it is entirely unclear what this has cost him.

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