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48 MIN READ TIME

A Betrayal of Confidence

REVIEWED BY KATHLEEN J. SCHULTHEIS

“I HAVE WRITTEN A WICKED BOOK AND feel as spotless as the lamb,” wrote Her-man Melville to Nathaniel Hawthorne, upon finishing Moby Dick. Larry Taunton in his memoir The Faith of Christopher Hichens, has written no Moby Dick, but rather a narrow, self-serving, deceptive little book. Yet, Taunton does feel quite spotless, untroubled by the fact that he has betrayed the confidence of a dying man who trusted him and is now aiming to profit by that betrayal. To the audience of Socrates in the City, his parting words were not “RIP, Christopher Hitchens,” but “Go out and buy truckloads of books.”

Thomas Nelson, 2016. 224 pp. $24.99 ISBN-13: 978-0718022174

So, Larry Taunton has Judas- kissed and told, and the interesting man who is the subject of this petulant tell-all is made to look vain and shabby. In interview after interview, Taunton is quite smug, soothing his conscience that he has disinterred this icon of the Left, so that others might see the real figure, the struggling human being, who was too prideful to believe. Taunton sees himself not as an opportunist capitalizing on the fame of a controversial figure who cannot sue, but as a simple man of the cloth, ministering to Hitchens in his final days, urging him to come to Jesus. But Hitchens, Taunton suggests, was too concerned about his post mortem life in the public imagination and so would not give up his most defining trait: rage at a God who represented the father he hated along with the frustrated homosexuality that Taunton implies was part of Hitchens’ character.

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