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on 31 March 2017
This will appeal to myopic right-wing handwringers who feast on hatred for those who are a little different to them, whilst longing for a time best forgotten.
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on 31 August 2017
I read Mr Hitchen's blog frequently and thought I'd give The Abolition Of Britain a try. It is, as I'd feared, pretty terrible. Selective, poorly argued and, in parts, simply factually incorrect. Stinks of a man desperate to be relevant. I will read a couple more of his books to see if things improve, as there is little doubt of his writing ability. But, after this nonsense, I'm not holding my breath.
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on 12 February 2013
Those familiar with the diatribe Dalrymplian may find the Hitchens whinge a bit of a comedown. Not that one would quarrel with him in the least; though he doesn't question very hard why other countries have taken, to varying degrees, similar routes, and naturally even he tiptoes around that dusky elephant in the room, race, he certainly knows how to hit a nerve. What is it about these awful liberal women - Margaret Cole, Bridget Plowden, probably Shirley Williams too (though I suppose a sense of moral superiority is better than no morals at all) - and why are they nearly always women - do-gooders, as they were once known. The line is fine between reformer and simple busybody. I count myself a feminist (women are human too - I should know, reader, I married one) but it used to be they who kept the show on the road; now, like cows given the freedom of the china shop, they rival us in arrogance. But the 'brilliance' of Hitch's writing (back cover) can result in a sentence like 'Charles Darwin's theory of evolution had provided a popular scientific theory..' whose construction is as worrying as its purport; and it's one thing to diss John Lennon's inoffensive 'Imagine', but he might at least get the words right. It says something about the blandness of Hitchens' invective that this limp little ditty, no doubt sung round campfires across the land, should be a target of his ire. He suffers a spectacular sense of humour failure in respect of the still peerless Beyond the Fringe* and is tone-deaf to the note of Betjemanesque regret in that closet conservative Alan Bennett. Criticism is also a form of love. Here it's a case of 'What else can I rail against?' or Hitchens regretting his youth. He's lucky to have had a youth he regrets. Whom exactly is he addressing? Americans? Children? Martians? The chapter on our green and pleasant land, and what became of it, reads like a textbook for the latter. The excerpts from the egregious Hamish Macdonald's 1995 history textbook are indeed hilarious (and I thought the comments held up for ridicule from a standard textbook of the 50s about Italy, Spain and Greece eminently sensible, indeed prescient) but one wants to ask both him and Dalrymple 'What, then, would you do?' If one suspects both would bring back the birch (or at least affect a wish to), 'Ted' can at least both evoke pity and above all amuse. What am I saying, at least?? Compassion and detachment are all! The only amusing thing here, apart from the dose of hilarity provided by Nelson's poor sailors out 'in all weathers with no safety net' ('what, no life jacket?', cried the children piteously, all doubtless familiar with Pirates of the Caribbean, or equivalent) which contrasts notably with the tact of Isidore Tenen writing in 1944, is the spectacle of Peter Hitchens foaming at the mouth. So, Peter, would you really go back to the Fifties - Mondo Plomley? (Desert Island Discs is one of the few things to have improved in the past 50 or 60 years.) Or maybe the 1500s? When *was* that Golden Age?

* Ten years after which, he tells us, there was no longer an 'establishment' or conspiracy of 'snobbery, church, monarchy, clubland and old-school-tie links'. If there ever had been such a thing (it is at the least debatable; wasn't it just a lot of boring men with loud voices?) and if it really vanished in ten years, (a) do we lament its passing and (b) could Beyond the Fringe honestly be held responsible? (I've news for Hitchens: snobbery isn't dead, it just got more vulgar. The passing of the class system as a whole, with its built-in postwar fluidity (aspiration as the flip side of deference) is something else again; it's noblesse oblige I miss most, and manners (maybe we'll come to them?), and the concept of service - though the establishment Hitchens mourns was as much or more about entitlement.) But Fringe was symptom as much as cause, and I think Hitchens is forgetting a little thing called rock and roll, by this stage channelled by TV+ into the heart of pretty well every home in the land with kids. Hitchens, bless him, even throws up his hands in horror at Fringe's cod Shakespeare, for me both the funniest and the most innocent part of the evening. (The most transgressive (as well as truest)? Miller's 'Jew-ish' remark.) If Hitchens does not choose also to attack the puerile, nihilistic and in my view far more toxic Pythons, it is simply because they are too popular, including in America, whose conservative masses Hitchens has in his sights. If Fringe knocked over the Aunt Sally, Python stamped on it; the Fringe quartet seem, by comparison, like ancient Athenians, or at least grown up. Yes, they were a solvent - but a necessary one. Like the Beatles just a little later they were four different individuals, with four different takes which miraculously fused and - well, maybe Hitchens has a point - spawned an era

+ TV: the real culprit. If you resisted its siren song you are entitled to mourn a vanished world, Peter - but it would have gone anyway. When it got out that the Queen watched Coronation Street (lèse majesté) class distinction was fatally holed
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on 18 January 2017
A catalogue of a nations' death by a thousand cuts. Betrayed by its upper class and duplicitous and virtually communist politicians following the sacrifices the people made throughout the war. Very sad reading indeed.
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on 8 July 2017
Not even worthy of 1 star. Boring and pompous.
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on 15 September 2017
When you read a mediocre book for a second time you get less out than the first time but with a very good book it is otherwise. On finishing The Abolition of Britain the enormity of what has occurred really hit home for the first time. I knew at least the bones of the story, the revolution in religion and morals, television, education, housing and cars, and since I was born in 1958 I was old enough to have been vividly aware that what had happened was extraordinary and in the main wrong. But this book brings all these threads together and more to produce a powerful whole.

The author thinks the book only "quite good" and I am sure he has his reasons saying that only the chapter comparing the funerals of Churchill and Diana would he leave unchanged. I found his chapter about the Church of England particularly interesting but what impressed me most perhaps was his chapter on the de-stigmatizing of the unmarried mother. I haven't read widely about the history of this topic but I would nevertheless be at least a little surprised if any one has done a better job (or even, it is slightly more than theoretically possible, any job). In fact I found myself consulting this chapter for support when I got involved in an on-line argument.

There is nobody, living or dead, quite like Peter Hitchens nor anyone who can answer his arguments. He has written excellent, well-researched books about some of the subjects covered in the Abolition of Britain: politics, the mythical war on drugs and crime, which are all well worth reading (and re-reading) and is now writing an epitaph (I think) for Britain, which I await expectantly.
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on 14 June 2012
For someone who is young like me (20s) this is a great book to get as it offers a completely different perspective on the last 50 years than the one which you'd be accustomed to (as pushed by the BBC & teachers etc). The shocking thing about message in this book is just how eerily true it all seems and just how sanctimonious and arrogant our ruling classes have been in their complete confidence in experimenting with my generation.

I recommend reading it to see just how.

A jeremiad indeed; powerful and depressing!
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on 21 June 2009
I was rather disappointed with this book from Peter Hitchens; who is normally such an erudite and interesting author. This book was written in 1999 and I think it has dated badly; even though some of his core arguments are still sound. I found Hitchens' statement "I'd rather leave a child, with a glass of neat gin; than let it sit in front of a TV unaccompanied" to be slightly off the mark. However, his view that emotion has usurped reason and debate in many areas of life, cannot be ignored.
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on 12 November 2016
Well observed and written. Some may see CH point of view as old fashioned - the more mature should consider whether our present experience of life with all our "progress" is happier, healthier or more fulfilling than when we had less choice, more structure and a less material focus. I appreciate that there are a few people such as PH who are prepared to look beyond the accepted "wisdom" of those who hold the power in society and have the ability to analyse and write with clarity and authenticity. I also like the way that facts are deployed to back up positions and views. I may not agree with all the conclusions and viewpoints but all are well argued, have the feel of honesty and concern for the bigger picture beyond the short term pragmatism of our present materialist focus.
Our much vaunted "young people" with (as we all had) idealistic, impractical and ill thought through views, which are supposed to respect and act upon, should read this book. Peter Hitchens is an ex communist who, having now experienced life (including living in the Soviet Union) and gained some wisdom and perspective now sees "the error of his ways" and is now considered "right wing". He is actually a conservative (with a very small "c") Christian patriot who probably reflects an increasingly significant proportion of the British public.
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on 26 December 2012
This book is excellent, and recognizable by anyone over 50. though now somewhat dated ,
The criteria used in the book to describe Britain's downfall are not likely to be those that the 'modern' generations would recognize, though, as so many foreigners have broken into the country, The conduct of these intruders reveal Britsh-ness in even sharper relief. It would be interesting if the author brought this book right up to date, with how the authorities go further as they embrace and 'celebrate' multicultural "honor killings' brown-on-brown race hate, forced marriages, child marriages, child-sex, underage marriage, murder, multiple wives, enforced female genital cutting, female incarceration, marginalizing of women and their treatment as chattels, the growing number of slaves. What would the author also say about the censorship on such matters?, and how the police are expected to be 'sensitive' to the criminals 'culture' ? The accusation of 'racist' being worse than 'murderer' An enormous number of people have got in, who do not have the British standards of decency, so that when they achieve positions of power, they have no compunction of using them for their own ends, -then get angry when they are found out -more accusations of racism. . -yet the liberals tell us they are 'just like us'. Establishment people adopt the foreign perfidy as a model for their own conduct : Banking scandals, scams and hucksterism. On and on it goes. Older people do not recognize their own country, the abolition Peter Hitchens wrote about , is complete. No wonder half a million people each year, move aboard. The population is being gradually replaced by those who embrace the liberal fascism, they need it needing to prevent their prosecution or deportation.

The author prefaced the 2nd edition with a description of how hard it was to get a publisher. I think that, if he tried to include any kind of additions that accurately described the current state of Britain,(see above) the establishment liberal fascism would make publication impossible.
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