We shared a great admiration for his friend Gene Genovese--a fervent Catholic, a man who at different times in his life was dedicated to a vision of the left and of the right that Christopher equally opposed. And we shared a fondness for one of Genovese's rather martial and uncongenial passages:In irreconcilable confrontations, as comrade Stalin...clearly understood, it is precisely the most admirable, manly, principled, and, by their own lights, moral opponents who have to be killed; the others can be frightened or bought.Just as Orwell, when an adult, was drawn to his old Etonian classmate, the high Tory Anthony Powell, not because of Powell's literary promise, but because of his military bearing and position, so Hitchens most cherished what he called (quoting his father) "sand"--grit. Christopher was haunted by his father--whom he called "the commander," and in a piece I asked him to write on Churchill, he wrote a throwaway line that I've always found hugely illuminating:My father, a Royal Navy commander, was on board H.M.S. Jamaica when it helped to deal the coup de grâce to the Nazi warship Scharnhorst on December 26, 1943--a more solid day's work than any I have ever done.
What Christopher Hitchens Held Sacred by