|Full title||Letters to a Young Contrarian [permalink]|
|Author||Christopher Hitchens (author)|
|Categories||Journalism and philosophy|
|Publisher series||Art of Mentoring (1/15)|
|Original publication year||2001|
|ISBN||978-0-465-03033-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]|
A collection of imaginary letters to a young contrarian. The beginning of each letter imagines that the reader has sent a reply to the previous one, and the current one is a reply to that, so that reading the book seems to be a conversation. The book deals with how to be a public intellectual with contrary views, and how to deal with all the hardships that come with that obligation.
It's a very short book, and once started, it's very hard to put it down. Hitchens is a very eloquent writer, besides being knowledgeable and engaged. In the book he deals a little bit with his public confrontations (his criticism of Mother Theresa and Henry Kissinger, for instance), really as examples for pontificating on the life of a contrarian. There's a little part of the book that I liked where he explores various words for a contrarian, such as rebel, revolutionary, and an "angry young man".