A polarizing, brilliant writer, Christopher Hitchens built a reputation as a ferocious left-wing analyst and thinker, writing for the New Statesman before moving to the United States in 1981 to write for The Nation. He became famous for his essay- and book-length critiques of public figures, including 1999's No One Left to Lie To: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton, 1995's The Missionary Position: Mother Theresa in Theory and Practice and 2001's The Trial of Henry Kissinger. Considered an heir of sorts by Gore Vidal, Hitchens was blacklisted by the older writer when their views suddenly differed, epitomized by Hitchens's scathing magazine piece blasting Vidal in 2010. A Vanity Fair contributing editor since 1992, he also wrote monthly essays on books for The Atlantic, but surprised many when his fervent leftist beliefs began to shift to the right, especially in terms of Islamic-fueled aggression, the Iraq War and the subsequent war on terror. He left The Nation in 2002 over these views, but made his biggest mainstream impression by becoming a vocal proponent of atheism, publishing 2007's God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, which sparked global debate. A heavy drinker and smoker, Hitchens remained as brutally analytic and unapologetic as ever after his diagnosis for esophageal cancer, penning the warts-and-all Hitch-22: A Memoir, in 2010. When he died on Dec. 15, 2011, for all his controversial viewpoints, Christopher Hitchens left behind an amazing intellectual legacy as one of the most fearless cultural commentators of all time.