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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cuts through the rubbish
I'm very familiar with the phenomenon of litter, because I live on a stretch of country road that is between a Macdonalds and a council estate, and I've noticed that the kind of person who eats at Macdonalds is the kind of person who likes to throw their rubbish out of the car window into the hedgerows (and sometimes even my driveway) of the beautiful English countryside...
Published on 20 Oct 2011 by DrLMK

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2 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fair
Theodore Dalrymple's first effort after a visit to the continent is fair but unconvincing. He invents a word for litter and plays on that ('detritus'), vut fails to convince. There is not much on litter for the litterbug.

Theodore Dalrymple's first book since he was on the continent, and he has invented a word for litter ('detritus')
but fails to...
Published on 2 Sep 2011 by Andrew


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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cuts through the rubbish, 20 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Litter: How Other People's Rubbish Shapes Our Lives (Hardcover)
I'm very familiar with the phenomenon of litter, because I live on a stretch of country road that is between a Macdonalds and a council estate, and I've noticed that the kind of person who eats at Macdonalds is the kind of person who likes to throw their rubbish out of the car window into the hedgerows (and sometimes even my driveway) of the beautiful English countryside. Why they can't leave their litter in the car for the remaining 5 minutes of their journey and dispose of it in a dustbin at home is completely beyond me. My mother taught me not to litter, because "This is public space and it should be kept nice so everyone can enjoy it." I grew up in an era where "Keep Britain Tidy" was a familiar mantra. And so, every once in a while I go out with a black bin bag and the grabber-stick I've bought especially for the task, and risk my life in traffic to pick up other people's litter. 99% of it is branded Macdonalds or Redbull. Why do I do it? Why do I care so much? Why do I suspect that the preponderance of litter is symptomatic of a general decline in Britain's culture?

I've canvassed opinion. My mother, a teacher at city comprehensives for 30 years, "blames the schools": "The children aren't taught to pick up their litter. The kids say, 'That's what cleaners are for'." I blame rising individualism and a breakdown in family values.

So I was very keen to read Theodore Dalrymple's thoughts about why it is these people can't perform the simple action of putting their litter in a bin. His thoughts coincide exactly with mine, though his are expressed with clarity, humour, and intelligence. This book should be required reading for every young person, and every parish council, in the land. It should be given, free of charge, to any person buying a "Happy Meal" or a can of Redbull.... though they'd probably only throw it out of the car window.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking analysis of the disgrace of our age, 10 Oct 2011
This review is from: Litter: How Other People's Rubbish Shapes Our Lives (Hardcover)
Well, so far as I know, no one else seems to be addressing the blight which ubiquitously disfigures seemingly every inch of our environment. It's a wilful disfigurement by and large, consciously done, which makes it all the more hard to explain. Why do people drop litter? Why don't people care about streets, paths, hedges, parks and gardens strewn with ever-increasing dumps, large and small, of cast-off rubbish? Mr Dalrymple demolishes many arguments, such as the huge increase in wrapping and the pervasive consumption of fast food, and considers changes in behaviour, such as the new habit of eating on the streets. He ties this problem in with many other social trends and features of modern living, always debating with himself the opposite reasoning, to test out his thinking. But his thinking is sound, and he steers towards an explanation which is profound and complex, part of a deeper malaise. What we can do about it is therefore not easy to address, but the most effective method is to do what my generation's parents did, and simply instill into youngsters that it is wrong to drop litter.
The work takes concentration to follow the twists and turns of the author's careful reasoning, and would repay a second reading.
He is well-placed to have written this discursive book, by profession being a psychiatrist.
This should be compulsary reading - that sounds off-putting. Maybe to teachers, ministers, local authorities, parents. It's not a subject widely aired: that is what is so frightening. We live in a pigsty of our own making, and don't seem the care. Mr Dalrymple makes an excellent attempt to fathom why.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Theodore Dalrymple's Litter, 15 May 2014
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This review is from: Litter: How Other People's Rubbish Shapes Our Lives (Hardcover)
Everyone interested in how society is changing in the UK should read this thoughtful and insightful, modestly priced little book.
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2 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fair, 2 Sep 2011
This review is from: Litter: How Other People's Rubbish Shapes Our Lives (Hardcover)
Theodore Dalrymple's first effort after a visit to the continent is fair but unconvincing. He invents a word for litter and plays on that ('detritus'), vut fails to convince. There is not much on litter for the litterbug.

Theodore Dalrymple's first book since he was on the continent, and he has invented a word for litter ('detritus')
but fails to convince that it is incurable. Not one for the litterbug!

RT
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3 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ironically, this book itself is rubbish, 11 Mar 2012
This review is from: Litter: How Other People's Rubbish Shapes Our Lives (Hardcover)
This book is nothing but an extended old man rant. I honestly approached this book with an open mind but was left laughing (at, not with) and shaking my head in disbelief. The author uses the book as a platform for a broad range of tangential rants including absent fathers and (I kid you not!), energy drinks, among many others. He seems to be defeated in his view of humanity, perhaps precipitated by his job as a prison doctor. But this, of course, doesn't mean he's right.

This book, well it should not be called a book as it is actually just a long essay (the author refers to it as such himself late in the book), is also littered (get it? Ha!) with typographical errors. This just makes it seem that the author either doesn't know how to use a spell checker or the editor was rubbish, or both. Also, the endorsement by the Daily Mail on the front cover should be an adequate warning for anyone hoping for anything other then a politically conservative diatribe of the lowest order.

Honestly, what does this book achieve? It's written by an old man ranting about people who will never read the book (poor people, litterers) and are probably unlikely to ever interact with those who will. Added to that is that anyone with even a small amount of sense will instantly dismiss this for what it is, raving froth, and will never proclaim the book other than for the good sense one would have to avoid it. Only rated 1 star because zero stars does not exist.
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Litter: How Other People's Rubbish Shapes Our Lives
Litter: How Other People's Rubbish Shapes Our Lives by Theodore Dalrymple (Hardcover - 3 Nov 2012)
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