95 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A devastatingly powerful book, 7 Nov 2004
This is not a dry sociological study. Page by compelling page Mr Bartholomew shows that the welfare state has been a disaster for Britain. The well-meaning welfare programmes of the government have impoverished, criminalized, demoralized and yes, even killed through neglect and incompetence those who are most vulnerable in our society. This book will help to shift the terms of the political debate. Anecdotes, illustrations and statistical evidence reinforce one another chapter after chapter and make for compulsive and fascinating reading. A striking aspect of this book is that the author shows that many of the issues were correctly diagnosed and addressed by the great nineteenth century social reformers, only to have their basic lessons disregarded or forgotten in the twentieth century. Truly those who are ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it. Importantly, Mr Bartholomew does not merely criticize the welfare state, he persuasively shows that Britain was once and could be again a dynamic compassionate and civil society sustained by and reinforcing a healthy morality in the private sector. The government is the problem, not the solution. The evidence is all here, clearly laid out. Press this book into the hands of every civil servant, teacher and doctor you know.