Christopher Hitchens died yesterday at the age of 62 after a long illness with cancer. The Observer was lucky enough to have his byline grace our pages, including this book review of Michael Isikoff’s Uncovering Clinton, (note how he calls Mr. Isikoff’s prose “Capitoline” — “’rising stars’ intersecting with ‘insiders’ all the way”) and Susan Sontag’s Regarding the Pain of Others.
“I never met him, and spoke with him on the phone only rarely, but from our slender contact I can tell you that he was an absolute professional: On time, spot on, and spotless. Every editor’s dream,” remembered former Observer books editor Adam Begley. “I would have used him constantly if I’d had the budget.”
“His writing leaves an enduring and inspiring legacy to readers everywhere,” said his book publisher, Cary Goldstein of Twelve, in a statement. “We are proud to have played our part in sharing it with the world. He will be missed.” Twelve is publishing a forthcoming memoir, Mortality.
Vanity Fair has a page with links to stories Hitchens has written in the past year. He wrote so much! But we would also like to link to two VF essays which revealed that even Christopher Hitchens could suffer through self-examination: the first isn’t one essay, but rather a series, “On the Limits of Self-Improvement;” the other recalls a meeting with the family of an Iraq War soldier who was inspired by Hitchens to join the military and who died in combat.