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Christopher Hitchens was a controversial, thought-provoking British-American writer who covered a range of serious topics, including art and atheism.
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A year later, Hitchens released The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favorite Fetish, in which he condemned the royal family and the media's treatment of them, and Blood, Class, and Nostalgia: Anglo-American Ironies, in which he examined the lopsided cultural exchange between the United States and Great Britain. In 1992, Hitchens began writing for Vanity Fair.
The 1990s were generally a time of great productivity and greater controversy for Hitchens,
with his output coming in the forms of books, essays and television appearances. As he did with the royal family, he often attacked what he perceived to be public figures raised to the level of gods, or at least myth, and began appearing on such talk shows as Frontiers and Charlie Rose, tenaciously engaging opponents in political debate.
Always finding new idols to topple, in The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice (1995), Hitchens assailed the previously untouchable reputation of Mother Teresa and claimed that she supported dictators, including Haiti's Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier. And once again crossing party lines to critique a beloved figure from the left, Hitchens parsed the various misdoings of U.S. President Bill Clinton in No One Left to Lie To: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton (1999).
The 2000s saw a change in Hitchens's subject matter, if not his tone. In 2002, he published Why Orwell Matters, followed by Thomas Jefferson: Author of America in 2005 and Thomas Paine's Rights of Man: A Biography in 2006—all more traditionally academic than most of his previous books. He also continued to rile the political left when he persistently argued in favor of an invasion of Iraq, the deposing of Saddam Hussein after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and George W. Bush's post-9/11 policies. In this vein, he released a series of essays entitled A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq, which laid out his reasoning behind supporting military action.
In 2007, Hitchens came out with God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, where he criticized virtually every religion on earth and began occupying a prominent place in the atheist movement, although he dubbed himself an "antitheist."
Hitchens's memoir, Hitch-22, was published in 2010, and Hitchens announced during his book tour that he had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He continued to make public appearances while undergoing treatment, frequently discussing his condition in the context of his religious disbelief and shunning the idea of a possible deathbed change-of-heart. The Quotable Hitchens: From Alcohol to Zionism, a collection of his one-liners, and Arguably: Essays, a collection of cultural and political commentary, were released in 2011.
On December 15, 2011, in Houston, Texas, Hitchens succumbed to his cancer, leaving the literary world a rich legacy of ideas about civilization and humanity's place in the world.
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