Any fan of Christopher Hitchens should own this work. Letters to a Young Contrarian is a reservoir of wisdom and insight that never dries nor tires. While it’s best to never entirely agree with any single person Hitchens offers a way in which to view and tackle the world that champions honesty and fact. The problem with this assessment though is that it is preaching to the choir, to borrow a religious metaphor. Christopher’s “letters” are best read by the opposition, especially those that disagree with his anti-theism and anyone looking to uncover reasoned world-views in light of individual and Global issues.
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I’ve taken my time reading Christopher Hitchens’ Letters to a Young Contrarian. The main reason is to ring in 2012 on a positive note of reason. If one were to draw out a main point/challenge to the reader it would be: to think better (if not differently). This feeds into to a constant assessment of the status quo and to give all things (especially tradition) a fair shake against the better forms of ourselves found in logic and human decency. The empowering sense in tackling ancient regimes and lies with true conviction makes 2012 another year worth ardent living and unflappable courage.
We still inhabit the prehistory of our race, and have not caught up with the immense discoveries about our own nature and the nature of the universe. The unspooling of the skein of the genome has effectively abolished racism and creationism, and the amazing findings of Hubble and Hawking have allowed us to guess at the origins of the cosmos. But how much more addictive is the familiar old garbage about tribe and nation and faith.
-Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian