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5.0 out of 5 stars Hitting several nails on their heads
Dr. Dalrymple diagnosis of what is ailing us, like most of his writing, is informed by his wide experience coupled with clear thinking. He is often reproached for offering diagnosis but no cure. This reproach is not justified; it is true that he offers no easy treatment, only the hardest of all: facing the truth in ourselves.
Published 2 months ago by Marta Clare

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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flirting with reality
I can't quite get a handle on what Theodore Dalrymple is trying to achieve in his latest outing `The new Vichy Syndrome- Why European Intellectuals surrender to Barbarism'. I shall begin however by saying that Dalrymple's writing typically has much to recommend it; his deracination of Blairite welfare policies and their ugly social sequelae is at once acerbic,...
Published on 5 April 2010 by John Puttenham


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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flirting with reality, 5 April 2010
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I can't quite get a handle on what Theodore Dalrymple is trying to achieve in his latest outing `The new Vichy Syndrome- Why European Intellectuals surrender to Barbarism'. I shall begin however by saying that Dalrymple's writing typically has much to recommend it; his deracination of Blairite welfare policies and their ugly social sequelae is at once acerbic, uncompromising and entertaining. Dalrymple's `immorality tales' published for years in the Spectator mined the rich seams of fear and loathing that bubbled beneath the council estate, shopping mall and emergency room of modern Britain. Just as Dickens projected the image of the impish, dishonest but likeable pickpocket into the 19th century British drawing room, Dalrymple forces our reluctant acquaintance with the fat, tattooed, track-suited, grandiose, pregnant for the sixth time, fifteen year old mother of four as she screams semi-literate obscenities into her mobile phone on the way to collect her benefits from the welfare office. Unlike Dickens however, Dalrymple gives us real people and verbatim conversations. Also in contradistinction to Dickens' colourful ensemble of characters, Dalrymple's subjects are almost universally charmless and un-likeable. To read his psychiatric interviews with prisoners and other assorted unfortunates is to be grabbed the scruff of the neck and dragged into the grotesque, hostile, suspicious, impulsive, self entitled and insightless mindset of the denizen of the welfare estate. Dalrymple mugs the bien-pensant with reality. He asks her to put down the Guardian arts review and the Pinot Grigio for a minute to look at the world that she has simultaneously created and disavowed. He implores her to climb down from her ivory tower and to confront the menace behind the dead eyes of the hooded youth on the street corner. His social commentary and analysis showcased in books such as Life at the Bottom will hopefully enlighten future generations about where and why our civilisation took the wrong turn before it collapsed into the post-modern vortex of its own making.

In `Vichy', Dalrymple has his phaser drawn, but it's set to `nuance' rather than to `kill' (metaphorically speaking, of course). Whilst he is adept at dismantling the false gods of secularism, welfarism, relativism and faux-feminism, Dalrymple fails to adequately address the true extent of the Barbarism alluded to in the book's title. Is he trying to distance himself from the clarion calls of Steyn, Hitchens, Hirsi-Ali et.al? And if so, why? These towering Cassandras are not hysterical fools. Steyn in particular has addressed the uncomfortable and unmentionable realities of European demographic decline and Islamic migration in his book `America Alone'. I do not think that Dalrymple's blasé dismissal of Steyn's thesis (without mentioning him by name) is particularly convincing or reassuring. Dalrymple contends that Muslim populations in Europe are becoming more westernised, and that their populations are likely to plateau without reaching a majority, so we shouldn't fret too much. Steyn however argues that restive and youthful populations of Muslims in European cities do not need to reach a majority, but rather only a `tipping point', before societies are transformed irrevocably into `bi-cultural' polar extremes. Steyn similarly shows that second and third generation migrant Muslim populations are often more radicalised than their parents and grandparents. This radicalisation occurs in the face of legion, lavishly funded well- meaning attempts of governments and NGO's to grant Islam all sorts of concessions and indulgences and to turn a blind eye to some pretty horrific practices, whilst at the same time criminalising any principled critiques of the religion by those worried by it. Dalrymple highlights the heterogeneity of Islamic faith in attempt to assuage our fears, but it is not clear how this lessens the overall threat of Islam to Western Civilisation. It is precisely because Islam is such an ill-defined entity with no easily identifiable leader or hierarchy that makes it so difficult to grapple with. We are left only with glib reassurance that Mosque `A' or Imam `B' or Madrassa `C' is `moderate' and not `extreme'-indulging for a minute the notion that these descriptors even have much meaning. Which Muslims would voluntarily self-identify as moderate? Who is the leader of that particular faction if it exists? Can a Muslim be moderate in habit but extreme in ideology? How do we characterise and address the million shades of fanaticism that exist between the black-widow bombers in Moscow from the devout, law abiding Muslim who is broadly sympathetic to the aims of violent jihad? Does silence about acts of terrorism or the violent subjugation of women imply active consent, or passive acquiescence? There is no simple answer to these questions. It is better, in my view, to abandon fruitless exercises in sectarian taxonomy. We must jettison the fantasy that we have the ability to untangle the various centuries-old internecine squabbles in the vain hope that drawing such distinctions will help us to sort `their Muslims' from `our Muslims'. Sunni and Shia hostilities will, after all, persist longer after the common foe has become been defeated.

In short, Dalrymple does a fine job of putting a neurotic, `sick' Europe on the couch. I urge people to buy this book for that analysis alone. I fear that his view of the Barbarians is surprisingly generous however, to the Barbarians that is. Maybe the reality is simply to difficult to contemplate.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The New Dalrymple Syndrome, 3 Oct 2010
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My initial introduction to Dalrymple's writing came only about two months ago when I read his excellent Spoilt Rotten - The Toxic Cult Of Sentimentality. While that particular book succeeds at convincing at least myself of its writer's many virtues and deep insights into today's society, I am somewhat left in doubt concerning this book's agenda. It seems as if Dalrymple has now succumbed to parts of the Left's ongoing doctrine of Holier-Than-Thou PC rhetoric; afraid of appearing "racist"(yes, that tired old word again), he aims at making excuses for, in particular, ill-behaved Brummie youths of Pakistani descent. Apparently, their rotten behaviour has absolutely nothing to do with their Islamic roots, and everything to do with urban life and ghetto gangster mentality. The fact that other, non-Islamic inhabitants of city slums do not practise, say, honour killings does not get any real comment from this superannuated dweller of the French countryside.
Despite Dalrymple's occasionally annoying habit of pointing out his own scholarly achievements, I still find many of his observations to be enlightening, with glimpses of real profundity present at various points in the text. No one can argue with the author's claims that it is indeed good and healthy for all people to enjoy literacy and general academic achievement; hard work and dedication are virtues to be cherished and deserve their proper place in our collective consciousness. It is therefore puzzling to discover that Dalrymple himself has now entered the sphere of dubious grammar; The New Vichy Syndrome is written in deeply pretentious American English, which makes for a most confusing read. Dalrymple's many displays of an immense vocabulary, while servicing the reader with elegantly structured sentences, are now tainted by bad grammar and lazy spelling habits. For some reason, I would have expected more than this brand of reverse snobbery from an English scholar of Dalrymple's considerable reputation.
If you can look past these few slips of the author's proverbial tongue, then I would unhesitatingly recommend this book for all readers concerned with Europe's present state of cultural and economic decline.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 14 Oct 2010
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Steven (Liverpool, England) - See all my reviews
As someone who thought that 'Our Culture, what's left of it' was a masterful collection of essays I had high hopes for this little polemic and was prepared to excuse its rather hefty price tag. Unfortunately I was let down quite badly. The book doesn't really pursue the intriguing thesis which is stated on the front cover, in fact it's difficult to describe exactly what it does pursue since it lacks a certain coherence.
In addition to the muddled narrative the book also suffers from an excessive use of asterisks, there was usually at least one per page and often the extended clauses were quite long which dramatically sapped any momentum the chapters had managed to build up. He seemed to use these extra spaces mainly to flaunt his achievements or to relate anecdotes, and I couldn't help detecting a whiff of vanity - it would seem Mr Dalrymple has a very high opinion of himself.

The climax of the book seemed to be an account of the Armenian genocide and the role played by the French. This event may rightly be very significant to his hypothesis but for some reason he decides to give a conflated historical account of it (which in a very small book seems very odd). It felt as if he were doing it simply to show off his knowledge of French history or perhaps to reach a quota of words.

If I had to sum up this book in one word it would quite simply be 'strange'. I don't really understand what Mr Dalrymple is trying to achieve here or why he thought it was a good idea to cram the pages full of asterisks. There are snippets of wisdom here and there, but no overarching structure placing them in the context of a logical argument.

After reading 'Our culture, what's left of it' I developed a great deal of admiration for Mr Dalrymple, the book led me to believe he was a very astute and intelligent critic, but reading this book has had the regrettable effect of tarnishing that respect in an odd way which I can't really explain. I no longer look at 'Our Culture' which sits on my bookshelf in quite the same way.

So my advice to comrades would be to give this book a miss and read his other ones. My advice to Mr Dalrymple would be to scrap the polemic writing and stick to his essays.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hitting several nails on their heads, 6 Jun 2014
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Dr. Dalrymple diagnosis of what is ailing us, like most of his writing, is informed by his wide experience coupled with clear thinking. He is often reproached for offering diagnosis but no cure. This reproach is not justified; it is true that he offers no easy treatment, only the hardest of all: facing the truth in ourselves.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A SIMPLE REVIEW, 23 Nov 2012
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I have to say that i was really very pleased with every aspect of the service I received when I ordered this item. The item was very well packed and in splendid condition. No complaints whatsoever.
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New Vichy Syndrome
New Vichy Syndrome by Theodore Dalrymple (Paperback - 27 Oct 2011)
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