Christopher Hitchens: The scrapper faces the enemy within

From The Guardian:

Cusl01_hitchens0710 Recently, Martin Amis noted, half-jokingly, that becoming a grandfather was like receiving a telegram from the mortuary. If so, then the news last week that his closest friend, Christopher Hitchens, has cancer of the oesophagus is more like getting a generational summons from the grave. That is not to overstate the seriousness of Hitchens's diagnosis – although oesophageal cancer is indeed a grim condition – but simply to recognise the legend of an indestructible constitution that has long attended the celebrated journalist, polemicist, author, anti-theist and bon vivant. And no less to acknowledge the vitality habitually displayed by Hitchens in the dissemination and discussion of political and cultural ideas. While history's recent tectonic movements have left the co-ordinates of Hitchens's politics subject to fierce debate, few would argue that for more than three decades he has consistently occupied the position of the hardest-working, hardest-living man of letters on either side of the Atlantic.

The author of 11 books (and co-author of six more), including the bestselling God Is not Great, and four pamphlets and four collections of essays, Hitchens is also a columnist for Vanity Fair, lead book reviewer for the Atlantic Monthly, has a weekly column with the online magazine Slate, and is a contributor to countless other publications. Taking his former friend Gore Vidal's advice, he tries never to decline an invitation to appear on TV, where he is a familiar presence on American cable politics shows. He is a formidable participant in public debates, a regular on the lecture circuit and he has also been a visiting professor at the New School in New York and Berkeley in California. In between, he makes a point of going somewhere “dangerous or difficult” each year, usually a war zone or some military dictatorship.

More here.