Through his Vanity Fair essays, his books and his television appearances, Christopher Hitchens has become one of our leading provocateurs, saying what many of us might be thinking (though he’s more articulate) but are afraid to utter. Public intellectual, pundit, whatever, he is frequently thought-provoking and almost always entertaining, if occasionally offensive. So as he deals with a diagnosis of esophageal cancer, an admirer and fellow writer, Windsor Mann, has collected many of Hitchens’ most piquant remarks and we have them now in “The Quotable Hitchens: From Alcohol to Zionism.”

This isn’t a collection of his essays and other works but rather a book of quotations, many of them brief, and it makes for easy reading or perusing. Hitchens devotees will be most rewarded. But others, particularly curious types who haven’t paid Hitchens much attention, can treat the book as a tip sheet (it kindly includes citations to the original essays and such) and track down an article or a relevant book.

Hitchens, depending on where one stands, is often either mean or brutally honest, as in these examples:

On George W. Bush: “He’s unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things.”

Mike Huckabee: “A moon-faced true believer and anti-Darwin pulpit-puncher from Arkansas who doesn’t seem to know the difference between being born again and born yesterday.”

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