Why Hitchens became an American

In due course, the Alex Cockburn model was left far behind. Christopher entered what was to be the last phase of his life as a writer—and in the time that was left him to enjoy what, as he lay dying, was revealed to be an extraordinary fame, not to mention a widespread love and affection.

What surprised me about this phase was the deep significance becoming an American citizen held for him. In our Bohemian days, we were internationalist in politics and quite the opposite of patriotic. I hadn’t realized the need Christopher felt to belong to something. He was far too satirical to show it. But in the fullness of time he revealed that he really belonged in an America of his own choice. Last year, when he first fell ill, I read his little book about Tom Paine and thought how very much at home Christopher was in this subject, that century. I also felt that he hadn’t changed at all in spirit from when I first knew him. I shall miss that spirit dreadfully.