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World Turned Upside Down [Hardcover]

Melanie Phillips
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 May 2010
In what we tell ourselves is an age of reason, we are behaving increasingly irrationally. An astonishing number of people subscribe to celebrity endorsed cults, Mayan armageddon prophecies, scientism, and other varieties of new age, anti-enlightenment philosophies. Millions more advance popular conspiracy theories: AIDS was created in a CIA laboratory, Princess Diana was assassinated, and the 9/11 attacks were an inside job.

In The World Turned Upside Down, Melanie Phillips explains that the basic cause of this explosion of irrationality is the slow but steady marginalization of religion. We tell ourselves that faith and reason are incompatible, but the opposite is the case. It was Christianity and the Hebrew Bible, Phillips asserts, that gave us our concepts of reason, progress, and an orderly world on which science and modernity are based.

Without its religious traditions, the West has drifted into mass derangement where truth and lies, right and wrong, victim and aggressor are all turned upside down. Scientists skeptical of global warming are hounded from their posts, Israel is demonized, and the US is vilified over the war on terror—all on the basis of blatant falsehoods and obscene propaganda.

Worst of all, asserts Phillips, this abandonment of rationality leaves the West vulnerable to its legitimate threats. Faced with the very real challenges of spiraling demographics and violent, confrontational Islamism, the West is no longer willing or able to defend the modernity and rationalism that it once brought into being.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (6 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594033757
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594033759
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.8 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 340,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist, author, publisher and co-founder of EM: Melanie Phillips Electric Media. She started on the left of the political spectrum, writing for The Guardian and New Statesman. During the 1990s she moved to the right, and currently writes for the Daily Mail, covering political and social issues from a social conservative perspective. Phillips defines herself as a liberal who has "been mugged by reality".

Phillips has often appeared as a panelist on the BBC Radio 4 programme The Moral Maze and BBC One's Question Time. She has written a number of books, including Guardian Angel: My Story, My Britain (2013). She was awarded the Orwell Prize for Journalism in 1996, while she was writing for The Observer. She published her memoir, Guardian Angel: My Story, My Britain on 5 May 2013.

Melanie Phillips was educated at St Anne's College, Oxford. Before joining the Daily Mail she worked for the Guardian, the Observer and the Sunday Times. She writes a monthly column for the London Jewish Chronicle, is a regular panelist on BBC Radio Four's The Moral Maze, and frequently contributes to other publications around the world including Standpoint magazine, the Spectator, the Australian and Wall Street Journal.

Her print titles include The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth and Power, published in the US by Encounter in 2010, and Londonistan, an analysis of Britain's appeasement of Islamist extremism published in US in 2006 by Encounter and in the UK by Gibson Square.

Her other books include The Ascent of Woman, Little Brown, 2003, The Sex-Change Society: Feminised Britain and the Neutered Male, Social Market Foundation, 1999; All Must Have Prizes, Warner, 1996. She also wrote a play, Traitors, which was performed at the Drill Hall in London in 1985.

Product Description

About the Author

Melanie Phillips is an award-winning columnist for London’s Daily Mail. Educated at Oxford, she won the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996. She is the author of Londonistan, All Must Have Prizes, and other books. Her regular blog appears on the Spectator website.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging read! 24 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The bulk of this book is concerned with the threat to the West posed by militant Islam - not so much by the Islamists themselves, but by Western apologists for a Fascist cult. Antisemitism plays a part in this, together with the success of Palestinian propaganda portraying Israel as the aggressor. Ms. Phillips puts Britain in the front line for appeasement, and links this to the decline of Christianity and Christian morals. As a Jew she regards Judaism as the basis for Western civilization, Christianity an acceptable offshoot, and Islam as the opposite (whilst recognizing that there are moderate and peaceful Muslims).
She laments the lack of reason and religion in Western society and the substitution of silly cults - Diana, Obama, witchcraft etc.: amongst these she includes global warming, with a detailed analysis. Enlightenment philosophers are discussed in depth.
Above all this book is a warning - the West has lost its religion and therefore its bearings and is easy prey for fanatics - but like most commentators Ms. Phillips is better at pointing out problems than coming up with solutions!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Melanie Phillips is an Orwell prize winning journalist. Orwell is a good name to mention here, because the world Phillips writes about is exactly the kind that Orwell warned us about.

It's not only that political correctness (Newspeak) is rampant, it is that a variety of other quack beliefs, alternative medicines and pseudo-sciences are pervasive, dominating the cultural discourse of the West. Naturally, it almost goes without saying that this nightmare scenario wouldn't be complete (!) without the proponents of these objectively doubtful notions being intolerant absolutists.

In short, it seems we're back to the 1930s.

Phillips covers a variety of subjects in order to prove her thesis. And simply by reading the first few chapters, it is quite clear that this is a book in which a considerable amount of effort has been invested. You read through the descriptions and arguments like listening to a great composer's music coming to life. And it is very exciting reading a writer of this calibre at the top of her game.

Upon looking at the contents, the chapters seemed somewhat uneven as if there is no common denominator. But once you start, the link between them all becomes clear. It was almost as if I kept sitting up with every sentence thinking yes, that's it!

Melanie doesn't only provide the arguments and counter arguments, she lays out the thinking of the proponents of these idiotic beliefs which is what makes her work here so fundamentally compelling.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What is truth? 1 Nov 2011
I found Melanie Phillip's book refreshing, challenging and, can I confess it, a little chilling. Having read Peter Hitchens', 'The Abolition of Britain' some years ago, I found that this began on a not dissimilar line - that the old mores by which we understand our world and our place in it have been gradually and almost subliminally undermined by a culture generated not by reason, but by ideology and fanatical creed. The author then narrows her detailed argument into an examination of the rise of the thought processes that have warped and bent truth to become something unrecognisable but difficult to contend with in a world where informed opinion is so invaded by its rhetoric. She records with the demise of reasonable thought, the rise of all kinds of wacky and insane ideas, ideas encouraged by an elite to whom the only virtue is the contemptuous destruction of anything virtuous.

I think of Pilate who, embittered and heart-hardened over years by the politics and machinations of the Roman court intrigues, was to say to the One in Whom was embodied Truth itself, 'what is truth?'. That cynicicsm and disregard for empirical reality is evidenced in our own world, made suspicious and distrustful of anything pure or just simply true if it does not fit the agenda. Melanie in fact goes further, she identifies the discounting of reason as not simply a lack of thinking, but an active process aimed at corrupting the facts and producing a whole set of new 'realities' by the new self-appointed Select who have set themselves up as the makers of the new truth. A brave new world indeed.
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66 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Britain wake up! 21 Jun 2010
This is a great book. Phillips brings together some varied themes that define our times, such as, atheism, scientism as an act of faith, antisemitisim, and post-modernism and finds a compelling link; that we have lost the ability to think reasonably. She contends that a rational understanding of the world is essentially derived from positive view that God has formed this world and permits us to enjoy its discovery. Our abandonment of reason has left us unable to tell truth from lies or even know whether there is truth, which gives rise to the title of the book. In short, we abandoned our Christian dogma in favour of reason, because we did not want to be bound by Christian dogma, but then we found reason to be too hard a master, so we abandoned reason as well. In this book Phillips will alienate many readers who refuse to allow their predjudices to be challenged, but this book should be a light to many who are confused and alarmed about where contemporary culture is leading us and how we are being led there. Please read this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This woman has her finger on the button
Published 6 days ago by philpot
1.0 out of 5 stars Religions are supernatural nonsense.
Religions are supernatural nonsense. This book takes the absurd position that the West is in thrall to a flood of intellectual gibberish (correct) so what it should do is return to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Giles Penfold
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all who love truth.
An excellent and timely book that needs to be read more widely. We have all observed some of the changes in attitude and culture and questioned - How did all this happen? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Maxwell Graham
5.0 out of 5 stars Massive perspective, absorbing and profound.
The author is concerned with the correct matters regarding the readers: she is clear rather than clever and her undoubted intelligence makes a very fine journalist. Read more
Published 4 months ago by william murdoch
5.0 out of 5 stars A book full of common sense
If you want to know why we are in the mess we are and why decisions have been made the way they have - this is the book for you. Get informed so you understand.
Published 7 months ago by garden lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Melanie is only human!
I love Melanie Phillips' writing, and I very much enjoyed this book. It taught me a few things, certainly, although I don't find every point persuasive. Read more
Published 9 months ago by fox
3.0 out of 5 stars Philosophically Flawed
Despite some very perceptive analysis of the failure of the Western media and left-wing intellectuals to appreciate the true and present dangers presented by the fascist ideology... Read more
Published 11 months ago by James Rainsford
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Read for ALL
To be fair Melanie Phillips' politics may not be the acceptable stance for many, but in this well written paperback book she explores numerous political matters and exposes the... Read more
Published 12 months ago by John Maclennan
5.0 out of 5 stars Melanie Phillips should be running our country...
I have enjoyed reading articles in The Mail and Mail on Sunday by Melanie for years. Intelligent, brave, articulate Melanie. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Martha
5.0 out of 5 stars A devastating analysis
The World Turned Upside Down is both fascinating and frightening in equal measure. The author shines a very bright light upon the worthless ideologies of the liberal intelligentsia... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
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