Christopher Hitchens has replied to the notorious “Comrade Hitchens!” letter with which Martin Amis ends Koba the Dread. I was no fan of Koba, but Hitchens is awfully slippery, essentially accusing Amis of lacking irony and humor and taking it too easy on the numerous enemies of human freedom that preceded Stalin, while failing to acknowledge that none of them murdered remotely on his scale. He also adduces a few leftists who objected to Stalinism early on as if that sufficiently justified the many who ignored and excused it. And the song and dance about how things would have turned out fine for Russia if only Lenin and Trotsky had succeeded in 1905, as if Stalinism were a product of the First World War: please. Hitchens nonetheless is always a pleasure to read, and he does score a few direct hits, as Anne Applebaum points out.