Not with a Bang but a Whimper: The Politics and Culture of Decline

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Overview

Theodore Dalrymple's brilliant new collection of writings follows on the extraordinary success of his earlier books, Life at the Bottom and Our Culture, What's Left of It. No writer today is more adept and incisive in exploring the state of our culture and the ideas that are changing our ways of life. In Not with a Bang But a Whimper, he takes the measure of our cultural decline, with special attention to Britain-its bureaucratic muddle, oppressive welfare mentality, and aimless young-all pursued in the name of ...

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Not With a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics and Culture of Decline

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Overview

Theodore Dalrymple's brilliant new collection of writings follows on the extraordinary success of his earlier books, Life at the Bottom and Our Culture, What's Left of It. No writer today is more adept and incisive in exploring the state of our culture and the ideas that are changing our ways of life. In Not with a Bang But a Whimper, he takes the measure of our cultural decline, with special attention to Britain-its bureaucratic muddle, oppressive welfare mentality, and aimless young-all pursued in the name of democracy and freedom. He shows how terrorism and the growing numbers of Muslim minorities have changed our public life. Also here are Mr. Dalrymple's trenchant observations on artists and ideologues, and on the treatment of criminals and the mentally disturbed, his area of medical interest.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Times
Mr. Dalrymple illuminates with great clarity and precision some of the most difficult problems of our times.
Neofusionist
Beautifully written, insightful, and often sad.
Conservative Book Club
Brilliant essays.
The Washington Times
Mr. Dalrymple illuminates with great clarity and precision some of the most difficult problems of our times.
Publishers Weekly

In this essay collection, British writer Dalrymple (Life at the Bottom) lays out a case for the decline of Western civilization, finding its symptoms lurking in everything from multiculturalism to the "delusions of honesty" by political leaders. Although less of a lovable curmudgeon than plain ferocious in his ire, the author's forays into literary criticism are appealing if amateurish; a former prison doctor, the author is most cogent when on his own beat, analyzing the criminal justice and medical systems. Predictably pessimistic on the political front, the author has sharp words for his fellow Brits ("They are educated by the state, the state provides for them in old age and has made saving unnecessary or, in some cases, actually uneconomic; they are treated and cured by the state... they are housed by the state.... Their choices concern only sex and shopping"). He saves his worst condemnation for Muslims: ("[Muslim men] satisfy their sexual needs with prostitutes and those whom they quite openly call 'white sluts' "); his pieces on terrorism and suicide bombers abound with ugly stereotyping from which this otherwise entertaining book never fully recovers. (Oct.)

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USA Today
The book draws upon both deep and broad cultural references, illustrated with cases with which Dalrymple intimately is familiar. ... Despite refusing to bow to the eagerly offended, he does not confuse meanness and wit. ... [I] compare him to G. K. Chesterton.
—Dolores T. Puterbaugh
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566637954
  • Publisher: Ivan R Dee
  • Publication date: 10/25/2008
  • Pages: 266
  • Sales rank: 1,208,655
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Theodore Dalrymple is a British doctor and writer who has worked on four continents and has most recently practiced in a British inner-city hospital and prison. He is a contributing editor for City Journal in the United States and writes a column for the London Spectator. His earlier collections of essays, Life at the Bottom and Our Culture, What's Left of It, have been widely praised.

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Table of Contents

Artists and Ideologues

The Gift of Language 5

What Makes Dr. Johnson Great? 17

Truth vs. Theory 33

A Drinker of Infinity 39

Ibsen and His Discontents 54

The Specters Haunting Dresden 71

What the New Atheists Don't See 83

The Marriage of Reason and Nightmare 95

Politics and Culture

The Roads to Serfdom 109

How Not to Do It 123

A Prophetic and Violent Masterpiece 135

It's This Bad 150

Real Crime, Fake Justice 161

Delusions of Honesty 172

The Terrorists Among Us 184

Suicide Bombers 196

Multiculturalism Starts Losing Its Luster 208

In the Asylum 219

A Murderess's Tale 231

Index 243

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 1, 2014

    Written by a Doctor working in the UK prison system and with a b

    Written by a Doctor working in the UK prison system and with a bird's eye view of political policies. Realistic in his views of criminals inability to marshal both material and intellectual resources to find opportunities of upward mobility. He makes plain the natural consequences coming full circle to the underclass, results of easy governmental expediancy in lieu of tasking tough solutions. His book washes away the false comfort of problems having found their solutions. One comes away with the understanding of societal attitudes that ultimately do nothing but create a false veneer of having done something.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A shoddy, bigoted piece of spleen

    Dalrymple simply blames everything bad in Britain on a 'liberal elite' that has supposedly been running Britain for the last few decades.

    So who are these powerful liberals? What connection do they have with the Conservative Party, which has formed most of our governments for most of the last 200 years? What connection do they have with Labour, which has ruled for the rest of the last 80 years? Was David Blunkett, for example, an example of a trendy liberal?
    What kind of rule would Dalrymple support? Cameron? A Berlusconi-type reactionary? Nick Griffin? (Certainly no trendy liberal.)

    Like the Sun editors he so closely resembles, Dalrymple avoids the hard questions, always preferring the cheap and easy sneer.

    The saloon-bar sneers at political correctness, and the fake populism, are dangerously anti-democratic.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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