primo levi

Books To Watch For

One standout among the many featured authors at this year’s Book Expo America at the Javits Center last week was the late Italian chemist and writer Primo Levi, who died in 1987 and is best known for his memoirs of surviving Auschwitz, “If This Is a Man” and “The Periodic Table.”

Courtesy Liveright Publishing

If Christopher Hitchens Met Primo Levi, Would They Agree About God?

Yes. That's the answer given by Damon Linker in a fascinating essay at To play a bit of catch up first: last week, writings by (and more important, images of) Christopher Hitchens ripped through the Internet relating to his recent diagnosis of cancer.  The discovery earlier this summer forced the author to abruptly cancel the book tour of his new memoir in order to undergo treatment. 

But he emerged last week, first posting an essay about his bout with the cancer and radiation treatment at; then later in a video-blog interview with The Atlantic Monthly's Jeffrey Goldberg.

Much of the media chat since then has turned to the question of whether Hitchens, an outspoken atheist, would show a little mercy and perhaps accept God.  His answer has been an emphatic "No."  And even if he did at some point in the future pray to God, it could only be taken as bestial ravings of a man who's clearly lost his mind; a man whose central feature distinguishing him from all other beasts--his intellect--had left him.

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