By Christopher Hitchens, Twelve, June 2, 2010, B00351DSAU

Christopher Hitchens is a polymath. There’s simply no doubt about it. I think that’s why his autobiography is not all that fascinating. It’s full of pithy and revealing quotes, but it is both self-congratulating and self-flagellating at the same time. I stopped reading it midway through.

[k185] All this, too, is an intimation of mortality, because nothing reminds one of impending extinction more than the growth of one’s children, for whom room must be made, and who are in fact one’s only hint of even a tincture of a hope of immortality.

[k221] Janus was the name given by the Romans to the tutelary deity who guarded the doorway and who thus had to face both ways. The doors of his temples were kept open in time of war, the time in which the ideas of contradiction and conflict are most naturally regnant. The most intense wars are civil wars, just as the most vivid and rending personal conflicts are internal ones, and what I hope to do now is give some idea of what it is like to fight on two fronts at once, to try and keep opposing ideas alive in the same min d, even occasionally to show two faces at the same time.