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on 2 June 2017
The usual eye opening facts from a great writer.
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on 24 July 2013
The bulk of this book is concerned with the threat to the West posed by militant Islam - not so much by the Islamists themselves, but by Western apologists for a Fascist cult. Antisemitism plays a part in this, together with the success of Palestinian propaganda portraying Israel as the aggressor. Ms. Phillips puts Britain in the front line for appeasement, and links this to the decline of Christianity and Christian morals. As a Jew she regards Judaism as the basis for Western civilization, Christianity an acceptable offshoot, and Islam as the opposite (whilst recognizing that there are moderate and peaceful Muslims).
She laments the lack of reason and religion in Western society and the substitution of silly cults - Diana, Obama, witchcraft etc.: amongst these she includes global warming, with a detailed analysis. Enlightenment philosophers are discussed in depth.
Above all this book is a warning - the West has lost its religion and therefore its bearings and is easy prey for fanatics - but like most commentators Ms. Phillips is better at pointing out problems than coming up with solutions!
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on 11 June 2014
Melanie Phillips is an Orwell prize winning journalist. Orwell is a good name to mention here, because the world Phillips writes about is exactly the kind that Orwell warned us about.

It's not only that political correctness (Newspeak) is rampant, it is that a variety of other quack beliefs, alternative medicines and pseudo-sciences are pervasive, dominating the cultural discourse of the West. Naturally, it almost goes without saying that this nightmare scenario wouldn't be complete (!) without the proponents of these objectively doubtful notions being intolerant absolutists.

In short, it seems we're back to the 1930s.

Phillips covers a variety of subjects in order to prove her thesis. And simply by reading the first few chapters, it is quite clear that this is a book in which a considerable amount of effort has been invested. You read through the descriptions and arguments like listening to a great composer's music coming to life. And it is very exciting reading a writer of this calibre at the top of her game.

Upon looking at the contents, the chapters seemed somewhat uneven as if there is no common denominator. But once you start, the link between them all becomes clear. It was almost as if I kept sitting up with every sentence thinking yes, that's it!

Melanie doesn't only provide the arguments and counter arguments, she lays out the thinking of the proponents of these idiotic beliefs which is what makes her work here so fundamentally compelling.

When you read about the way academics in the scientific community behave towards climate change skeptics, it brings to mind other false scientific beliefs such as that of Stalin's chief scientist Lysenko, the man supposedly responsible for giving the Soviet Union 3 harvests per year (sheer nonsense) and in which dissent from from Lysenko's claims was outlawed. It seems in many parts of academe we're headed down the same path again with global warming.

This is well into Hoffer,Huxley and Orwell's territory. In a sense, Phillips doesn't add to what those authors have written, but Melanie's contribution is connecting the dots to today's world and with the different issues of today.

Those interested in the god vs atheism debate would do well to read what Phillips brings to the table. Herein lie the counter-arguments to the likes of Richard Dawkins and the scientific rationalists. This is one of the strongest chapters in which Melanie makes the 'scientists' look irrational. (When using some of the arguments here about the flaws in logic of Darwin's theory of evolution, I noticed that so-called rational atheists become enraged and... irrational. Odd that.) Other topics covered include the seeming alliance between Islam, environmentalism, anti-capitalism and anti-Zionism; how the Enlightenment unraveled, plus a rational, sensible discussion of the Iraq War (Melanie evidently has no fear of controversy), and more.

Having read about Phillips' latest book beforehand, when it arrived in the post I pulled it out of the packaging and started reading right away. I wasn't disappointed. It's not normally easy to get excited about a book on sociology, but Melanie Phillips' is an author with extraordinary articulation and insight. I really don't feel it is an overstatement to say this is one of the most brilliant books of our time and for our time...

Scary and profound
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on 10 November 2015
Extremely well researched and well written although some chapters used such advanced English, I did not know what Melanie was saying. However, this was a book which had to be written and should be compulsory reading for journalists, political analysts and historians even if you disagree Melanie does follow the evidence where it leads and says so without apology.
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on 11 October 2013
Despite some very perceptive analysis of the failure of the Western media and left-wing intellectuals to appreciate the true and present dangers presented by the fascist ideology of fundamentalist Islam, Phillips general thesis in this book fails on a number of levels.
Her attack upon atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens demonstrates a lamentable misunderstanding of the atheist position. Atheism is not just another set of unsupported ideological beliefs, in fact it is quite the opposite.
Of course, no scientist would disagree with her assertion that science cannot presently, and may never, answer all the questions we are capable of asking, but it does not follow that therefore, there must be a different kind of truth about the universe which implies the existence of some supernatural intelligence which is required to give meaning to existence. Equally, her attack upon evolutionary biology demonstrates a surprising ignorance of the facts, which leads her to some unsupported and invalid assertions regarding creationism.
She is however, to be congratulated for for some very erudite conclusions regarding the immense dangers to Western civilisation from the many manifestations of political-correctness and moral and cultural relativism. A society unprepared to vigorously defend its own culture, traditions and values, is I fear, a culture unlikely to survive.
Altogether, this is an uneven and Judaic centered view of the universe, which because coloured by a bias in favour of the values of Judaism, fails to comprehend the validity of scientific rationalism, or the illogicality of choosing one monotheistic sky-god over another. This is a great shame, as I'd always thought of Phillips as a fellow traveller in the battle against superstition and faith-based tyranny.
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on 1 November 2011
I found Melanie Phillip's book refreshing, challenging and, can I confess it, a little chilling. Having read Peter Hitchens', 'The Abolition of Britain' some years ago, I found that this began on a not dissimilar line - that the old mores by which we understand our world and our place in it have been gradually and almost subliminally undermined by a culture generated not by reason, but by ideology and fanatical creed. The author then narrows her detailed argument into an examination of the rise of the thought processes that have warped and bent truth to become something unrecognisable but difficult to contend with in a world where informed opinion is so invaded by its rhetoric. She records with the demise of reasonable thought, the rise of all kinds of wacky and insane ideas, ideas encouraged by an elite to whom the only virtue is the contemptuous destruction of anything virtuous.

I think of Pilate who, embittered and heart-hardened over years by the politics and machinations of the Roman court intrigues, was to say to the One in Whom was embodied Truth itself, 'what is truth?'. That cynicicsm and disregard for empirical reality is evidenced in our own world, made suspicious and distrustful of anything pure or just simply true if it does not fit the agenda. Melanie in fact goes further, she identifies the discounting of reason as not simply a lack of thinking, but an active process aimed at corrupting the facts and producing a whole set of new 'realities' by the new self-appointed Select who have set themselves up as the makers of the new truth. A brave new world indeed.
C.S. Lewis described something similar in his fictional book, 'That Hideous Strength' though, in Mrs Phillip's book, it is not fictional and she presents real and historical damning evidences with thorough and painstaking research.
The highlighting of the pulling down of the old certainties and a creation of new ones built of dangerous, idealogically distorted world-views based on the new truth construct is something we all need awakened to. Sleep-walking into a world where being able to debate and argue using fact and reason is reviled and outlawed by the intolerant cant of 'tolerance' will be a real shock for those who wait til then to awaken.

Although I cannot say I share all of Melanie Phillip's opinions and conclusions, nonetheless, I applaud her integrity and courage in saying what surely needs to be said. Truth is not something like beauty; in the eye of the beholder. It is what it is, and the author shows us that so much of what we are program-fed today is simply not it. Dangerously not it.
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on 8 December 2013
I love Melanie Phillips' writing, and I very much enjoyed this book. It taught me a few things, certainly, although I don't find every point persuasive. Melanie trashes the evidence accepted by people on certain issues, and then goes on to produce very similar sounding evidence to support her own favoured viewpoints, and seems to expect us, this time, to rely on that evidence. It is the general unreliability of the evidence, which she proves, that makes me feel we can't be certain of the veracity of her points any more than her opponents' points. Her passion comes out in a very repetitive hectoring about certain things, which keep coming up in chapter after chapter, but overall she does succeed in giving us a fresh perspective on things and in highlighting certain ominous trends. Well worth a read, I feel.
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on 4 August 2014
An excellent and timely book that needs to be read more widely. We have all observed some of the changes in attitude and culture and questioned - How did all this happen? This book explores and explains in great detail the root causes of the shifts that have taken place over the past fifty or so years.
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on 8 November 2015
Melanie Philips never fails to amaze me with the amount of information she puts into her books. She must be one of the best researchers I know. Could be something to do with the fact that she is of Jewish stock!
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on 21 June 2010
This is a great book. Phillips brings together some varied themes that define our times, such as, atheism, scientism as an act of faith, antisemitisim, and post-modernism and finds a compelling link; that we have lost the ability to think reasonably. She contends that a rational understanding of the world is essentially derived from positive view that God has formed this world and permits us to enjoy its discovery. Our abandonment of reason has left us unable to tell truth from lies or even know whether there is truth, which gives rise to the title of the book. In short, we abandoned our Christian dogma in favour of reason, because we did not want to be bound by Christian dogma, but then we found reason to be too hard a master, so we abandoned reason as well. In this book Phillips will alienate many readers who refuse to allow their predjudices to be challenged, but this book should be a light to many who are confused and alarmed about where contemporary culture is leading us and how we are being led there. Please read this book.
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