This book is not what other reviewers have labelled it. That is to say, it is not at all a treatise on the need for charities to assume the functions presently carried out by government, nor is it an attempt at class warfare.
Mr. Bartholomew does not, it seems to me, want to harm the poor or their interests; quite the opposite in fact. His book attempts to show the inadequacies of the welfare state; the problems that it has caused society as a whole and particularly those who find themselves, through necessity, most subject to it; and, finally, to debunk the notion, which has entered the realm of received opinion, that the welfare state is and has been nothing other than a force for good in Britain.
The tone of the work is neither condescending nor idealist, but rests firmly in the domain of realism. It is refreshing in its objectivity and relies on a lightness of style that makes what is ordinarily a dreary subject stand out from the page.
Though hinting at possible solutions, this book does not set out any firm means of progressive change. Therein lies its weakness. Overall, it is a well-evidenced, balanced, and erudite work characterised by a humanist's touch and a satirist's wit.