The Pequod Review:
Christopher Hitchens died in 2011 and leaves behind a complicated legacy. He was a gifted speaker and essayist, but he often wrote "with an apparent command of the subject he didn't actually possess" in the words of this devastating TLS profile. (Michael Wolff had a similar perspective in this GQ profile.) His politics were generally left-wing but he occasionally took idiosyncratic positions that seemed driven more by a desire to appear contrarian than correct, as for example he transitioned from supporting Saddam Hussein to supporting the Bush Administration. Furthermore, while his biting style had a certain charm, he was a terrible role model and became the inspiration for all sorts of mean-spirited imitations. (Even Tucker Carlson has cited him, saying "Once a day, launch a grenade into Asshole HQ...That was something I learned from Christopher Hitchens.") Nonetheless he is such a sheer pleasure to read and he frequently had such original insights and intelligence that much of his work holds up well — in particular his memoirs (Hitch-22 and Mortality) and his essay collections. Prepared for the Worst is a collection of some of his best essays from the 1980s, a mix of literary essays, political analysis and foreign reportage.