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Christopher Hitchens

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Christopher Eric Hitchens (13th April 1949 – 15th December 2011) was a British-born Anglo-American author, journalist and literary critic. He is perhaps best known for his writings on religion and atheism, but was also known as a defender of the reasons behind the Iraq War. He also strongly criticised various public figures during his lifetime, notably Mother Teresa[1] and Henry Kissinger, and participated in many public debates on the nature of religion, advancing the case for antitheism.

One of Hitchens's best-known works is god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007),[2] but he also published shorter works on literature and commentaries on the works of other writers, including George Orwell. He was a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, a columnist for The Atlantic, and sat on the advisory board of the Secular Coalition for America.

Hitchens was born in Portsmouth, England, in 1949, the elder son of a navy officer and a nurse. He studied at Oxford University and in his youth was a strong supporter of left-wing politics, at one point joining a camp for young revolutionaries in Cuba. His political views would moderate over time, even reverse in some respects: he supported George W. Bush over the war in Iraq, despite earlier referring to Bush as "abnormally unintelligent" and "nasty".[3] Hitchens travelled widely during his life, including making visits to Iraq at various times in its troubled history.

He became a father to a son and a daughter with his first wife, Eleni Meleagrou, and to another daughter with his second wife, Carol Blue. In 2007, Hitchens became a US citizen but retained his British nationality. In 2010, he published his autobiography, Hitch-22, the same year that he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. Hitchens wrote extensively on his experience of terminal cancer until his death in December 2011 in Houston, Texas, from complications brought on by the disease.

Footnotes

  1. Slate: 'Mommie Dearest'. 20th October 2003.
  2. Hitchens spelt god with a lower case g in the title. In the UK, the book appeared with the alternative subtitle The Case Against Religion.
  3. NBC: Hardball with Chris Matthews. Quoted in the Guardian: 'Christopher Hitchens quotes: the writer's most memorable bons mots'. 16th December 2011.
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