Christopher Hitchens, Tony Judt, Timothy Garton Ash
This chapter examines the work of three essayists and political commentators whose writing has attracted considerable attention in recent decades. Hitchens could be a dazzling and entertaining polemicist, though his later work was sometimes marred by a ‘contrarianism’ that was not always easy to distinguish from conservatism. Judt deployed great historical learning to reconsider the history of post-war Europe, though he was prone to a kind of reductive hostility in discussing left-wing intellectuals. Garton Ash has turned historically informed political analysis into a fine art, with vivid and penetrating accounts of key moments in contemporary history, though his journalism sometimes falls below the high standards of his more extended essays.
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