Customer Review

72 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful Cover, Insightful Content, 12 July 2010
This review is from: Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality (Hardcover)
The marketing director who is responsible for the misbegotten title and ghastly cover picture of this book has much to answer for. Both title and cover have nothing to do with the book's content. The lettering of the title is a typographer's nightmare, each letter individually printed on a card and "pasted" like a ransom note. There were many copyediting errors in the printing that I received in June, though these may (or may not) have been since corrected - the book was withdrawn and later reposted on Amazon with a July pub date. That said, I have found much insight in Dalrymple's essays on the excess sentimentality in British culture - and I can attest in American as well. He uses the word sentimentality when I think of the phenomenon as a public display of one's compassion. He nails it when he identifies the sentimentality as outward posturing. (In my experience, while everyone must give lip service to sentimental righthink, this is usually a figleaf strictly for public consumption.) Dalrymple's examples are always interesting, from victimology to aid to Africa. In the U.S. the current word is "caring", with the implicit charge that if you do not endorse "caring" social policies, you are outside the moral pale, exiled from the warm golden sphere of kind, right-thinking people. Argument by intimidation. This book has given me much to think about. There is a great moral message in Dalrymple. He is well read, and he has a rare gift for clear analysis. Essentially his talent is for taking what were cardinal virtues in an earlier century that have been abandoned for their opposite, and stripping away the accretion of falsehood and cant to reveal a clear rationale for returning to the earlier ethos.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Aug 2010 08:31:35 BDT
"Dalrymple does not pontificate on what he does not know, and he tells the reader when he is speculating and lacks expertise - see his last endnote."

Translation: he does not do X, but when he does do X he gives forewarning.

Posted on 11 Aug 2010 17:27:26 BDT
Charles says:
"I have noticed that unlike Christopher Hitchens in his recent memoir, Dalrymple does not pontificate on what he does not know" - Hitchens does not do this. In fact, it's Hitchens' policy not to do this. In a recent talk/discussion I attended with him he was asked his opinion of Britain's new coalition government and refused to answer because he does not know enough about the subject area and said so.
A very strange mention from you.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Aug 2010 16:44:07 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 26 Aug 2010 16:44:28 BDT]

Posted on 1 Sep 2010 12:07:55 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 5 Oct 2010 12:51:21 BDT]

Posted on 23 Nov 2010 10:23:42 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 30 Nov 2010 13:11:58 GMT]
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