Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses

Overview

This new collection of essays by the author of Life at the Bottom bears the unmistakable stamp of Theodore Dalrymple's bracingly clearsighted view of the human condition. In these pieces, Dr. Dalrymple ranges over literature and ideas, from Shakespeare to Marx, from the breakdown of Islam to the legalization of drugs. Here is a book that restores our faith in the central importance of literature and criticism to our civilization. Theodore Dalrymple is the best doctor-writer since William Carlos Williams. ?Peggy ...
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Overview

This new collection of essays by the author of Life at the Bottom bears the unmistakable stamp of Theodore Dalrymple's bracingly clearsighted view of the human condition. In these pieces, Dr. Dalrymple ranges over literature and ideas, from Shakespeare to Marx, from the breakdown of Islam to the legalization of drugs. Here is a book that restores our faith in the central importance of literature and criticism to our civilization. Theodore Dalrymple is the best doctor-writer since William Carlos Williams. —Peggy Noonan. Includes When Islam Breaks Down, named the best journal article of 2004 by David Brooks of the New York Times.
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Editorial Reviews

Charlotte Observer
Surgically incisive essays by a British psychiatrist who deserves to be considered the George Orwell of the right.
Book Review Digest - David Pryce–Jones
Dalrymple writes a clear and considered prose that makes him formidable indeed.
New York Sun - Paul Hollander
Theodore Dalrymple has succeeded (once more) in publishing a book that is both thoughtful and absorbing.
Arts and Letters Daily - Denis Dutton
The brutal, penetrating honesty of his thinking and the vividness of his prose make Theodore Dalrymple the George Orwell of our time.
Peggy Noonan
Theodore Dalrymple is the best doctor-writer since William Carlos Williams.
Norman Stone
There is so much learning and unconventional wisdom in it that you want to make the reading last.
Roger Kimball
These bracing essays horrify, irritate, enlighten, amuse. They also stir you to remember, as Dalrymple puts it, what we have to lose.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Edward J. Sozanski
Engrossing. Dalrymple is intelligent, witty, uncommonly perceptive about human affairs, and scathingly honest about human folly.
Tampa Tribune - Kevin Walker
It's rare for someone to produce a work on social issues that is so readable.
Nationally Syndicated Columnist - Thomas Sowell
Another classic book...by Theodore Dalrymple.
The New York Times - Jacob Heilbrunn
Striking. Most collections of essays are lackluster affairs, but Dalrymple's is an exception.
Courier–Journal - Andrew Martin
Penetrating analysis and literary eloquence make the book a worthy read for anyone concerned with the fate of civilization.
Antioch Review - Jay Martin
The manner in which Dalrymple wields his critical scalpel fixes our attention…he makes no promise to fix our condition.
Town Hall - Rev. Johannes L. Jacobse
It's rare to find such a morally coherent, historically informed and human account as Our Culture, What's Left of It.
The Seattle Times - Bruce Ramsey
Whether you find Dalrymple refreshing or infuriating will depend on your political point of view. Dalrymple calls them as he sees them, and there is not an ounce of political correctness in him.
Times Literary Supplement - Richard Davenport–Hines
The book is elegantly written, conscientiously argued, provocative and fiercely committed...measured polemics arouse disgust, shame and despair: they will shake many readers' views of their physical surroundings and cultural assumptions, and have an enriching power to improve the way that people think and act.
Globe and Mail - Randy Boyagoda
Theodore Dalrymple makes a devastating diagnosis of liberalism's recent ills.
Newstatesman.Com - Geoffrey Wheatcroft
Dalrymple has acquired a following on the sarcastic right; if anything, the thoughtful left should be reading him."
New York Daily News - Stanley Crouch
Read the words of a man who has been on the street...who brings a vast intelligence to his conclusions.
The New Criterion - Stefan Beck
An unexpectedly moving illustration.
Topeka Capital–Journal - Gregory L. Schneider
[This book] depicts the crucial problems in western culture in beautifully rich prose.
Society - Michael Platt
Dalrymple is able to say things with an authority few have.
Salisbury Review - Angela Ellis-Jones
This highly intelligent and perceptive writer never hesitates to 'tell it like it is'.
Globe and Mail - H. J. Kirchhoff
A clear-eyed assessment of the human condition at the beginning of the 21st century.
Wanderer - James K. Fitzpatrick
Dalrymple paints a chilling portrait of what is happening these days in France.
Brothers Judd
Ridiculously prolific and a favorite of bloggers.... He's one of the very best social critics of our age.
The Christian Century
His gift for storytelling will keep readers turning pages.
Bruce Ramsey
"Dalrymple calls them as he sees them, and there is not an ounce of political correctness in him."
Seattle Times
Denis Dutton
The brutal, penetrating honesty of his thinking and the vividness of his prose make Theodore Dalrymple the George Orwell of our time.
editor Arts & Letters Daily
Stefan Beck
An unexpectedly moving illustration.
The New Criterion
Edward J. Sozanski
Intelligent, uncommonly perceptive of human affairs and scathingly honest about human folly.
Star Journal
Randy Boyagoda
"Theodore Dalrymple makes a devastating diagnosis."
Globe and Mail
Edward J. Sozanski
"Engrossing. Dalrymple is intelligent, witty, uncommonly perceptive about human affairs, and scathingly honest about human folly."
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Kevin Walker
"It's rare for someone to produce a work on social issues that is so readable."
Tampa Tribune
Thomas Sowell
"Chilling."
Nationally Syndicated Columnist
Jacob Heilbrunn
"Striking. Most collections of essays are lackluster affairs, but Dalrymple's is an exception."
The New York Times Book Review
Jay Martin
"The manner in which Dalrymple wields his critical scalpel fixes our attention...he makes no promise to fix our condition."
Antioch Review
Library Journal
Physician/essayist Dalrymple may describe himself as "an ordinary and respectable son of the English middle classes, with a proper profession," but there is nothing ordinary about him. He has practiced medicine in the far-flung corners of the world and, most recently, among the British underclass. In his latest collection (after Life at the Bottom), he once again proves that he is an astute observer of life: in "The Frivolity of Evil," for example, he notes the replacement of the word unhappy with the word depressed by people who want their too willing doctors to prescribe medication. Divided under the headings "Arts and Letters" and "Society and Politics," the essays also deal with literature, history, and current events; Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Stefan Zweig, Karl Marx, Fidel Castro, and Marilyn Manson are among those who dance across the pages. It is Dalrymple's moral courage, however, that shines through the most-not to mention his ability to ask why and how something happened (e.g., the extreme vulgarity of some British art). He even, heaven help him, has the temerity to suggest what one might do to remedy society's evils. Compelling reading; highly recommended for all libraries.-Ellen D. Gilbert, Princeton, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Book Review Digest
Dalrymple writes a clear and considered prose that makes him formidable indeed.
— David Pryce–Jones
New York Sun
These bracing essays horrify, irritate, enlighten, amuse. They also stir you to remember, as Dalrymple puts it, what we have to lose.
— Roger Kimball
Arts and Letters Daily
The brutal, penetrating honesty of his thinking and the vividness of his prose make Theodore Dalrymple the George Orwell of our time.
— Denis Dutton, Editor
Christian Century
His gift for storytelling will keep readers turning pages.
Philadelphia Inquirer
Engrossing. Dalrymple is intelligent, witty, uncommonly perceptive about human affairs, and scathingly honest about human folly.
— Edward J. Sozanski
New York Times Book Review
Striking. Most collections of essays are lackluster affairs, but Dalrymple's is an exception.
— Jacob Heilbrunn
Courier–Journal
Penetrating analysis and literary eloquence make the book a worthy read for anyone concerned with the fate of civilization.
— Martin, Andrew
Antioch Review
The manner in which Dalrymple wields his critical scalpel fixes our attention…he makes no promise to fix our condition.
— Jay Martin
Seattle Times
Whether you find Dalrymple refreshing or infuriating will depend on your political point of view. Dalrymple calls them as he sees them, and there is not an ounce of political correctness in him.
— Bruce Ramsey
Brothersjudd.Com
Ridiculously prolific and a favorite of bloggers.... He's one of the very best social critics of our age.
Globe and Mail
A clear-eyed assessment of the human condition at the beginning of the 21st century.
— H. J. Kirchhoff
Newstatesman.Com
Dalrymple has acquired a following on the sarcastic right; if anything, the thoughtful left should be reading him."
— Geoffrey Wheatcroft
New York Daily News
Terrific.... Dalrymple is direct and his judgments are so true.
— Stanley Crouch
New Criterion
An unexpectedly moving illustration.
— Stefan Beck
Topeka Capital–Journal
[This book] depicts the crucial problems in western culture in beautifully rich prose.
— Schneider, Gregory L.
Society
Dalrymple is able to say things with an authority few have.
— Michael Platt
Salisbury Review
This highly intelligent and perceptive writer never hesitates to 'tell it like it is'.
— Angela Ellis-Jones
Independent
Read the words of a man who has been on the street...who brings a vast intelligence to his conclusions.
— Stanley Crouch
Post Chronicle
Another classic book...by Theodore Dalrymple.
— Thomas Sowell
Tampa Tribune
It's rare for someone to produce a work on social issues that is so readable.
— Kevin Walker
Town Hall
It's rare to find such a morally coherent, historically informed and human account as Our Culture, What's Left of It.
— Rev. Johannes L. Jacobse
Times Literary Supplement
The book is elegantly written, conscientiously argued, provocative and fiercely committed...measured polemics arouse disgust, shame and despair: they will shake many readers' views of their physical surroundings and cultural assumptions, and have an enriching power to improve the way that people think and act.
— Richard Davenport–Hines
Tulsa World
The sobering, fiery and ominous truth.
— Stanley Crouch
Wanderer
Dalrymple paints a chilling portrait of what is happening these days in France.
— James K. Fitzpatrick
The New York Times
Striking. Most collections of essays are lackluster affairs, but Dalrymple's is an exception.
— Jacob Heilbrunn
The Seattle Times
Whether you find Dalrymple refreshing or infuriating will depend on your political point of view. Dalrymple calls them as he sees them, and there is not an ounce of political correctness in him.
— Bruce Ramsey
Brothersjudd.com
Ridiculously prolific and a favorite of bloggers.... He's one of the very best social critics of our age.
Globe & Mail
A clear-eyed assessment of the human condition at the beginning of the 21st century.
— H. J. Kirchhoff
The New Criterion
An unexpectedly moving illustration.
— Stefan Beck
Topeka Capital-Journal
[This book] depicts the crucial problems in western culture in beautifully rich prose.
— Gregory L. Schneider
Courier-Journal
Penetrating analysis and literary eloquence make the book a worthy read for anyone concerned with the fate of civilization.
— Andrew Martin
Newstatesman.com
Dalrymple has acquired a following on the sarcastic right; if anything, the thoughtful left should be reading him.
— Geoffrey Wheatcroft
Nationally Syndicated Columnist
Insightful....[Dalrymple is a] profound British social critic.
— Thomas Sowell
New York Times
Striking. Most collections of essays are lackluster affairs, but Dalrymple's is an exception.
— Jacob Heilbrunn
CourierJournal
Penetrating analysis and literary eloquence make the book a worthy read for anyone concerned with the fate of civilization.
— Martin, Andrew
Topeka CapitalJournal
[This book] depicts the crucial problems in western culture in beautifully rich prose.
— Schneider, Gregory L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566636438
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 6/15/2005
  • Pages: 356
  • Sales rank: 336,984
  • Product dimensions: 9.08 (w) x 6.24 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Theodore Dalrymple is a British doctor and writer who has worked on four continents and now practices in a British inner-city hospital and a prison. He has written a column for the London Spectator for thirteen years and is a contributing editor for City Journal in the United States. His earlier collection of essays, Life at the Bottom, was widely praised.
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Table of Contents

The frivolity of evil 5
A taste for danger 17
Why Shakespeare is for all time 28
Sex and the Shakespeare reader 42
What's wrong with twinkling buttocks? 52
The rage of Virginia woolf 62
How - and how not - to love mankind 77
A neglected genius 90
The dystopian imagination 103
A lost art 116
Gillray's ungloomy morality 127
Trash, violence, and Versace : but is it art? 140
What we have to lose 155
How to read a society 166
Why Havana had to die 180
The uses of corruption 190
The Goddess of domestic tribulations 201
The starving criminal 211
Don't legalize drugs 221
All sex, all the time 234
Who killed childhood? 251
A horror story 260
The man who predicted the race riots 273
When Islam breaks down 283
The Barbarians at the gates of Paris 296
After empire 311
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Superb Analysis of Moral Relativism

    This writer has a facility with words and, what is more important, a marvellous ability to present difficult ideas in a clear and simple manner. The style of writing is engaging. It holds the reader's attention, whilst at the same time providing an insight into the doublespeak of the intellectual class.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2007

    After you read the book, look around and understand

    In one section, the comment is made 'I have seen little but understand much.' In another, is quoted what is written on Christopher Wren's tomb in St. Paul's Cathedral, 'If you see his monumment look around you.' Mr. Dalrymple speaks of what is going in the U.K. and the continent, but that can just as easily apply here in the United States. Read this book then look around you, and you will understand, but only if your mind is open.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2005

    Hooked As Soon As I Read The Preface

    British physician and essayist, Theodore Dalrymple, offers his views and insights into how the social, political and intellectual elites' self-serving, 'utopian' worldviews have contributed to the breakdown of morality and self-restraint in contemporary British society. In 26 essays --that range in topics from Shakespeare to Marx, from the 'frivolity of evil' to the Islamic breakdown of the UK's Pakistani criminal subculture-- Dalrymple displays proof of why he is being compared to George Orwell and Edmund Burke. A must-read for anyone who csres about the future course of our civilization.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2005

    It's all due to the welfare state and elite antinomianism

    Deadbeat dads, the drug culture, Marilyn Manson, and even D.H. Lawrence (talk about flogging a dead horse) - it all due to the welfare state and an intellectual elite that has embraced moral relativism. 'The best lack all conviction/ the worst are full of passionate intensity' Are we to believe that before the welfare state, say in 19th century England, all fathers were devoted to their children's welfare, there was no crime, no prostitution, no drugs? Dalrymple does a great job in delineating the appalling vulgarity and depravity of modern society, but I don't see how someone so concerned with human nature can fall for the obvious mistake of attributing all evil to a certain political arrangement (welfare state) which is, in fact, in tatters. The deadbeat dads and welfare moms he talks about lost their benefits years ago - he is out of date. They are now working two jobs at minimum wage without health insurance. Talk about evil. Still, he is fun to read if you skip the right wing diatribes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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