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Arguably: Essays
Christopher Hitchens - Arguably Essays by Christopher Hitchens.jpeg
AuthorChristopher Hitchens
CountryUnited States
PublisherTwelve, Atlantic Books (UK)
Publication date
September 2011
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
Pages816 pp (first edition)

Arguably: Essays is a 2011 book by Christopher Hitchens, comprising 107 essays on a variety of political and cultural topics. These essays were previously published in The Atlantic, City Journal, Foreign Affairs, The Guardian, Newsweek, New Statesman, The New York Times Book Review, Slate, Times Literary Supplement, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The Wilson Quarterly, and Vanity Fair. Arguably also includes introductions that Hitchens wrote for new editions of several classic texts, such as Animal Farm and Our Man in Havana. Critics' reviews of the collection were largely positive.


In a highly positive review, Fred Inglis of The Independent called Hitchens a "prose master" and lauded the author's skill as a polemicist, writing that various figures are "lined up, arraigned, swiftly appraised and, with a perfect and merciless justice, judged and sentenced." Inglis also praised the essays of literary criticism as "very well written, so funny and fluent, so loving and so pungent."[1] In Kirkus Reviews it was written, "Sometimes his pieces concern passing matters, though they are seldom ephemeral themselves [...] Vintage Hitchens. Argumentative and sometimes just barely civil—another worthy collection from this most inquiring of inquirers."[2]

Charles Foran of The Globe and Mail lauded Arguably as "750 pages of bright, witty, nearly always charged reportage and argument", and wrote that the work "lays the foundation for Hitchens's enduring relevance as an essayist and commentator."[3] Bill Keller of The New York Times called Hitchens "our intellectual omnivore, exhilarating and infuriating, if not in equal parts at least with equal wit", describing his range as "extraordinary, both in breadth and in altitude."[4] Nicholas Shakespeare of The Daily Telegraph praised the book as "tremendous" and wrote, "I can’t think of anyone who brings to such a diverse range of subjects Hitchens’s mobilising wit, intelligence and passion."[5]

In the New Statesman, John Gray criticized Hitchens's views on 21st century terrorism and said the author sometimes "blanks out reality when it fails to accord with his faith", but nonetheless referred to Arguably as "the testament of a prodigiously gifted mind" and lauded him as "one of the greatest living writers of English prose", especially praising the essay "The Vietnam Syndrome".[6] In a mixed review for The Observer, Finton O'Toole called Hitchens a "supremely evocative reporter" and "the most readable journalist of his time", but accused the journalist of "huge but unargued claims" and warned, "There are many sad moments when thought has withered into vacuity or bombast, moments in which we can see what Hitchens might have become – just another purveyor of American super-patriotic orthodoxies." O'Toole concluded that Hitchens "emerges here [...] as a great journalist fallen, for a while, among neocons."[7]

In 2016, James Ley of The Sydney Morning Herald listed Arguably among the collections from Hitchens that "[represent] the best of his work as a journalist, literary critic and cultural commentator."[8]

Awards and honors[edit]

Books reviewed[edit]

Book introductions[edit]


  1. ^ Inglis, Fred (September 22, 2011). "Arguably, by Christopher Hitchens". The Independent. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  2. ^ "Arguably". Kirkus Reviews. July 15, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  3. ^ Foran, Charles (September 9, 2011). "Arguably: Essays, by Christopher Hitchens". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  4. ^ Keller, Bill (September 9, 2011). "Christopher Hitchens, a Man of His Words". The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  5. ^ Shakespeare, Nicholas (September 15, 2011). "Arguably by Christopher Hitchens: review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  6. ^ Gray, John (October 6, 2011). "Review: Arguably by Christopher Hitchens". New Statesman. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  7. ^ O'Toole, Finton (September 16, 2011). "Arguably by Christopher Hitchens". The Observer. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  8. ^ Ley, James (January 14, 2016). "And Yet ... review: The last scraps from the brilliant Christopher Hitchens". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  9. ^ "10 Best Books of 2011". The New York Times. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2011.