It is a short book, so I’ll keep my review short too. The length of the book does not make it any less important. Hitchens writes a series of letters to an imaginary young contrarian, explaining what it means to him to be a free-thinking rebel. He is extremely full of himself, overly confident to a point of being arrogant, but the message he is passing to the reader has never been more important than now. I may disagree with Hitchens on many things, but not on the key issue of this book – the importance of independent and free thought. The whole book is an emotional, almost violent praise of individual thinking, of always questioning, of not taking anything for granted. Hitchens warns us about the dangers of manipulation, of sacrificing justice for ‘the greater good’. He advocates skepticism and even conflict and confrontation as necessary conditions of forging new ideas. In all of the serious topics Hitchens does not forget the importance of the sense of humour. His writing is excellent, very to the point, fluid and full of passion. Despite his ‘despotic’ personality it is a great book that every young person should read. I know I plan to re-read it regularly to keep me on my toes and to not get complacent.
Reading it was a very well spent 1,5 hr, like yoga or stretching session for the mind. Read it if you have a chance, it makes you think.