7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2014
Brilliant commentary on the way we live now by the greatest essayist now writing in English.
One point I think Dr. Dalrymple overlooks and may not be aware of is the astonishing complicity of the middle classes of this country in the mess that is now modern Britain.
The Left could never have triumphed so completely - and it is a triumph as complete in its way as the regime in North Korea - if the middle classes had not to a great extent allowed it to happen.
This is the great class cry that reverberates througout English history - 'leave us alone' - and which goes back probably to the Reformation at least.
So, then the aristocracy said to the gentry 'do what you like, take whatever you want, but just leave us our houses and lifestyle, anything for a quiet life.'
Now, the middle class say the same - 'give the feckless lower classes whatever handouts they want, tax us to the hilt, but just leave us alone.'
So, the lower classes ape their former social 'betters' have the same appalling manners. drinking habits, and loutish behaviour.
Everyone now apes everyone else's appalling behavious made worse by the social media.
This hatred has of course got much worse in the last 30 years. It used almost to be a form of social glue, but the collapsing state of everything in Britain has torn it wide apart.
Add to this the balkanization of the country, latterly with radical jihadists.
A witches brew indeed.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2013
If you have socialist leanings but your capacity for independent thought has not yet stultified, you may find these essays to be thought-provoking, uncomfortable, unsettling.
On the other hand, you may already believe in individual responsibility, and that rights properly accrue from the exercise of that responsibility, not from the beneficence of the state or other agencies. If so, read the book for pleasure, anyway; Dalrymple is an excellent writer.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2012
Most people I think were happy to "grow out" of essays when they left school and its regime, but Dr Dalrymple shows what is possible with practice and what an invaluable genre it remains. A series of essays can appeal as much as soggy cabbage, but I have to say that whatever topic he chooses is the better for it, and the thoughtfulness and insight is as poignant as it is hard-earned. I do not agree with everything he writes, but I can hardly stop myself from turning to the next, and I cannot lightly refute him on points of disagreement. If he does not make me thoughtful, he certainly provokes what is thoughtful, and what may be a thoughtful and human response to the deceptions we indulge in. A fine book, and well worth a reread.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2013
This is another book by Theodore Dalrymple. Although the author is a medical doctor, he is a better observer of social and political trends in Britain as well as in the world than any other I know. I wish all the voters in Britain read it.
It is rather said to see the cultural and political decline in Britain so well documented.The author does offer a few ways of how to get out of this crisis, but being a realist he does not seem very hopeful about the future, correctly I think.
I recommend this book and other books by the same author to anybody, apart from fanatical collectivists/socialists.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2013
I have a number of Dalrymple's books and not one has ever disappointed. For Telegraph rather than Guardian readers, of course, but I'd have thought any fair-minded person could accept the force of some of his arguments.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2012
Theodore Dalrymple is the greatest essayist writing in the English language. Wise, witty, and with a superb ear for the rhythms of English prose, he regularly publishes enlightening works that describe the follies and disasters of our age accurately, compassionately, but also incisively.
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2012
Theodore Dalrymple is one of the most brilliant essayists writing today about the decline of manners and morals in Britain.This is characterised by excessive public alcohol consumption, the increase in violence,and an underclass which has become dependent on the largess of the State. This largess appears to have broken down the family unit and weakened the self-reliance of the British people. In addition further damage has been done by the spread of hypocrisy which is promoted by political correctness. We are not allowed to state our opinions anymore, but are constrained to say that "X" is a religion of peace even though we know this is nonsense.Now I am starting to do it since I have had to say "X" is a religion of peace, but no reader will doubt which religion I am referring to. To those who cannot see, it is Methodism that is a religion of peace. I say this because the Methodists have produced no acts of terror,no honour killings, no suicide bombings of innocent civilians.
The Britain I first knew as an Australian student in 1969, of politeness, queueing (2 or more people in a public place seemed to constitute a queue), and of general respect, which is now sneered at for being too deferential, has now gone. Dalrymple seems to be the only commentator who concentrates on these matters. England also has other great writers of integrity such as Melanie Phillips and of course Clive James who was an Australian. I purchase every book that Theodore Dalrymple writes, and eagerly await his next publication. The news is not good but it is accurate and he has that unrelenting integrity which is reminiscent of George Orwell. Being Australian I do not normally read the Spectator so I only came to Dalrymple about 8 years ago after hearing a very impressive interview on the Australian wireless conducted by Phillip Adams. I cannot recommend this author highly enough.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2014
A collection of essays mourning the death of individual responsibility in the UK. Readable, makes some insightful remarks and witty in places. Based on author's personal experience, and all the better for it, but occasionally feels like a series of anecdotes rather than a detailed analysis.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2013
If you are unsatisfied with, or question the society around you, then this is for you. One of the sanest people I have never known .
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2013
A challenging read from a right-wing former prison psychiatrist and well worth the trouble if only to clarify your own thoughts on the current crisis.