Christopher Eric Hitchens (13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011) was an Anglo-American author, columnist, essayist, orator, religious and literary critic, social critic, and journalist. He contributed to New Statesman, The Nation, The Atlantic, London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, Slate, and Vanity Fair. Hitchens was the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of over 30 books, including five collections of essays, on a range of subjects, including politics, literature, and religion. A staple of talk shows and lecture circuits, his confrontational style of debate made him both a lauded and controversial figure and public intellectual. Known for his contrarian stance on a number of issues, Hitchens criticised such public and generally popular figures as Mother Teresa, Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, and Diana, Princess of Wales. He was the elder brother of the conservative journalist and author Peter Hitchens.
Having long described himself as a socialist, a Marxist and an anti-totalitarian, Hitchens began his break from the established political left after what he called the "tepid reaction" of the Western left to the controversy over The Satanic Verses, followed by the left's embrace of Bill Clinton, and the antiwar movement's opposition to NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s.
An atheist, and a self-described antitheist, Hitchens viewed the concept of a god or a supreme being as a totalitarian belief that destroys individual freedom, and argued free expression and scientific discovery should replace religion as a means of teaching ethics and defining human civilisation. In 2007, Hitchens published his most popular book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, which was a New York Times bestseller.