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SECOND OPINION: A Doctor's Dispatches From The Inner City

SECOND OPINION: A Doctor's Dispatches From The Inner City [Kindle Edition]

Theodore Dalrymple
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

No-one has travelled further into the dark and fascinating heart of Britain’s underclass than the brilliant Theodore Dalrymple.

A hospital consultant and prison doctor in the inner city, he is also a writer of world renown. In Second Opinion, he lays bare a secret, brutal world hidden to most of us.

Drug addicts and desperate drunks, battered wives and suicidal burglars, elderly Alzheimer's sufferers and teenage stabbing victims. They all pass through his surgery.

It’s the tragic world of ‘Baby P’ and Shannon Matthews – a place where the merest perceived insult leads to murder, where jealous men beat and strangle their women and where ‘anyone will do anything for ten bags of brown’.

In unflinchingly honest prose, shot through with insight, feeling and bleak humour, Dalrymple exposes the unseen horror of our modern slums as never before.

‘Dalrymple’s clarity of thought, precision of expression and constant, terrible disappointment give his dispatches from the frontline a tone and a quality entirely their own… their rarity makes you sit up and take notice’ – Marcus Berkmann, The Spectator

‘Dalrymple is a modern master’ – Steven Poole, The Guardian

'I promise you'll enjoy his books' - Daniel Hannan, Daily Telegraph

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 563 KB
  • Print Length: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Monday Books (3 Oct 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0045U9UR0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #41,346 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
This is a collection of very short Spectator columns that roughly follows on from where his previous book "If Symptoms Still Persist" left off (which in turn was a follow-on from "If Symptoms Persist"). It is roughly twice as long each of those books and, according to a page inside the book, covers the time period from 1997 to 2009 (the previous books covered the mid-1990s).

The stories mostly come from his time working as a doctor and are witty, darkly funny, and well-written. Since they are short pieces, they don't quite have the cultural depth and longer arcs that his longer essays have, but they are still very enjoyable to read. But, it is clearly of a different character than his collections of longer essays like "Not With A Bang But A Whimper" and "Our Culture: What's Left Of It".

Sadly, they don't have the accompanying illustrations by Nick Newman that the other two books had. But, this is only a minor shortcoming because the writing is at the very least equally as good.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read in small doses 10 Feb 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book is a collection of short essays about the author's experience as an inner city and prison doctor. I found them interesting though they are better read a few at a time. The book paints an almost completely hopeless picture of life at the bottom of the heap. Men and women beat each other up because of real or perceived insults or injuries. They all, without exception, appear to lack the finer qualities of human nature.

Prisoners vow to go straight but never really achieve their aim. People try and commit suicide because someone is nasty to them. Men walk out on their children and women have children by many different fathers. Yes he is judging people by his own standards which some people may find distasteful but occasionally a small dose of judging other people and finding them wanting makes a refreshing change in this non-judgemental era.

I finished the book feeling there is no hope for the majority of inner city dwellers but then I thought about the flashes of humour and the occasional insights displayed by some of the author's patients. The author offers no solutions to the many problems he encounters and to my mind throwing money at the situation would not help. The book made me realise that we actually need to censure people if they commit crimes and we are doing them no favours if we explain and excuse their behaviour. Everyone needs to develop a sense of personal responsibility. Life at the bottom is tough but it need not be as tough as some people make it.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Antidote By Anecdote 3 Jun 2010
At the end of the day I look forward to sitting in my armchair with my feet up on the ottoman, pouring myself a stiff Diet Pepsi, and inhaling several pages of Dalrymple at his driest. Second Opinion, imported from England, is chock-full of amusing tales of life among the savages. I know what you'll say - Dalrymple lacks compassion! And that's what makes him so delectable, so - so transgressive! In this era where we censor ourselves before thinking, Dalrymple dares to announce what we know is true but dare not say publicly or privately. His experience working in British prisons has given him a wealth of anecdote, but his genius is in the telling. Briticisms abound. I constantly flew to the Oxford English Dictionary to translate his language to American. (I learned that supererogatory does not mean unnecessary, as I had believed, but excess. That "instantiation" is not related to "instantaneous".) There were many phrases that were so Brit that I have no idea what they mean. Nonetheless, I got the gist and enjoyed the process. Second Opinion is superbly amusing and goes down painlessly, especially taken with a double dose of Schadenfreude. I want to add that the book contains unexpected grace notes of wisdom, observations about finding meaning in life, as well as the sudden leap of empathy toward the rare patient who embodies a quiet heroism. His encounter with the young man who speaks of Othello with recognition and applies it to his own jealousy is poignant.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Machiavelli. 16 Sep 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Dr. Dalrymple catalogues the frailties of human nature encountered in his experience as a doctor. These first hand accounts of the inherent viciousness and brutality of human nature blow the relatavist dismissal of any human nature out of the water. It is significant that Machiavelli was writing about these self same frailties over five hundred years ago, suggesting a certain permanence to them. Postmodernists who 'feel good' about themselves should wake up and smell the coffee.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A desk companion 14 Sep 2010
As usual from Dalrymple a well written book, but this time in the form of a collection of short anecdotes (1-2 pages).
Sat on my desk for around a week for dipping in to during quiet moments, certainly brightened the day up with his critical but realistic style of writing.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I found this book very amusing, entertaining but also thought-provoking. It should be mandatory reading for policymakers in the area of justice, crime and social policy. However, I also found it a bit pessimistic: it looks like there is little hope left, Britain is sunk and so is the continental Europe. Perhaps that is a part of the conscious approach by the author, but somehow the constant flow of nihilism made me tired.

The language is very lively and expressive in an educated, enjoyable way. I'm not a native English speaker and more often than once did I need to reach for a dictionary, or google for words, but that didn't stop me from enjoying. Long live dyspeptic grumpy old men!

Recommended in small doses, daily intake maximum 5 short stories.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars FAB!
A great book. I cannot disagree with anything Theodore Dalrymple has said. This is a book that could insult someone who doesnt have an open mind, and possibly cause fights. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Stephanie Burgess
3.0 out of 5 stars Medical
Not really impressed. Felt author concentrated too much on attacking health boards and N.H.S. Would hesitate to recommend it to friends.
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. D. Gunn
4.0 out of 5 stars English, rich and succulent
If you're expecting a story with a beginning, a middle, and a conclusion, don't bother reading this book. Read more
Published 9 months ago by John Hope
4.0 out of 5 stars FOOD FOR THOUGHT!
Very interesting, very informative, depressing from the point of view that it made me realise that in a sense, I now live in my own comfortable bubble. Read more
Published 12 months ago by ehc
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent read
This book is indeed enjoyable. The writers scathing view on the world can be shocking but that is what keeps you hooked. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Ashleigh Gange
1.0 out of 5 stars this Man is the epitome of pompousness
When I beganto read the book I thought he was being amusing but as I read on, i became more and more irritated by his patronising 'humour'. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mrs. P. Holmes
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
And rather judgemental and cynical, so forgettable I had to look it up to remind myself I'd read it, not recommended
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars forgetful
i CAN HONESTLY GIVE NO OPINION for this book as I cannot remember anything about it, it made no impression on me and even after reading other peoples reviews, nothing has come to... Read more
Published 16 months ago by leymine
4.0 out of 5 stars A very scary look at UK society.
A very well written book.... articulate and a beautiful use of English, but a very sad insight into the a "First World" education system that delivers many people who are... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Jenbo
5.0 out of 5 stars Second Opinion - A Doctor`s Dispatches From The Inner City
Theodore Dalrymple speaks out about things that are serious and troubling but, also, he has a wicked sense of humour made me laugh so much.
Published 16 months ago by G. H. Herts.
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