Last night I went to the London launch party for Christopher Hitchens’ new book, God is not Great – The Case Against Religion. The book seems to have hit a nerve. It is on the New York Times best-seller list – in fact it briefly got to number one.
Hitchens was my boss (or possibly just colleague, he’s not a very managerial type) in Washington in the early 1990s. We were both working for a now defunct British newspaper called The Sunday Correspondent – nicknamed “The Despondent” because of its irreversible downward spiral. I can still remember our first lunch. I would like to say that this is because of the sparkling nature of the conversation. In fact, it is because of the frightening amount that we drank. I staggered home afterwards and fell asleep for a few hours. At 5pm I got up and called Hitchens to discover that he had gone home and written a 2,000 word essay on WH Auden.