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Dalrymple is direct and his judgments are so true.

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They also stir you to remember, as Dalrymple puts it, what we have to lose. 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.

Anything Goes Theodore Dalrymple Inbunden. Second Opinion Theodore Dalrymple Inbunden. Skickas inom vardagar. 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. Our affluent society ,social welfare and especially the multicultural dream are a mess and Dalrymple is the kind of guy who leaves no opportunity unused to burst the bubble of the progressive elite that everything is brilliant.

No, having worked as a doctor and psychiatrist in prisons and hospitals in the most marginal parts of the world, Dalrymple has worked out his point of view straight from his experiences in the frontline. Instead he beliefs in a core of voluntarism, a free will to conduct in a certain way that cannot be blamed on circumstantial elements like poverty or a bad childhood. Why do people hate Dalrymple? Forget surveys and their dubious claims of validity. Years and years of being a doctor and psychiatrists and having thousands of patients gives a more precise view than any sociologist can offer.

Theodore Dalrymple - Our Culture, What's Left of It - June 2005 (3 of 5)

Not the system made them commit a crime, they were perfectly aware of what they were doing and what the consequences of their actions might be. There is no outside force that shuts off a sense of morality, no matter how much they, AND social workers, claim there is. The attempts to demolish taboos and traditions have left behind a barren social wasteland. Dalrymple makes no claim, but his knowledge on culture is breathtaking.

He uses Huxley, Zweig, Toergenjev, T. Eliot, Burke and especially Shakespeare to make a point.

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The man is a gifted writer, with a style that aches way more towards prose than academic language. Often sentences need a second read to fully grasp its content. While Dalrymple can easily defined as a conservative thinker, his main message is a call for social decency, modesty and moral maturity. The biggest problem with this book is that it demands some education or a certain amount of intelligence. Therefore those who need to read this book the most will most likely not be able to.

Well, there goes the last bit of desire I had to see England or France. In all seriousness, Theodore Dalrymple has some very insightful knowledge. Though not a Christian himself, Dalrymple best last name ever observes humankind's natural propensity toward evil, aka Original Sin. Dalrymple is a man who has seen the underclasses from around the world and has drawn reasone Well, there goes the last bit of desire I had to see England or France.

Dalrymple is a man who has seen the underclasses from around the world and has drawn reasoned conclusions about why society is reaching such a entropic level of depravity. Being a disheartened ex- art major, I especially enjoyed Dalrymple's views on modern art.

Our Culture, What's Left of It

It is no secret that I am not a fan of most of the post-World War II movements, such as abstract expressionism. I have nothing against people who like it or find meaning in it or even do it themselves. But I dislike the shift from narratives and social commentary to a private inner dialogue better suited for an art journal shared between the artist and his or her therapist.

The atom bomb brought a change to warfare that changed the world's collective psyche. Not only did we witness dictators dumping their citizens in mass graves but whole cities can now be completely leveled with one flip of a switch. The horrors of both World Wars were an example of the depths of human hatred and the power in which people can destroy governments, cities, and each other. Artist sought a childish escapism, claiming that no good or beauty could ever be found again.

Surely the history of humanity has seen things as horrifying and have still found beauty--even over the trenches or barricades there were still birds singing in a blue sky. The most admirable quality of humankind is our ability to be resilient against the evils we do to one another. This is why the turn toward destructive and pointless art literature, artwork, music, etc. Art has always been transcendent because it goes against the human nature to destroy. We, as mere mortals, are creating something that can possibly have a lasting effect long after we have perished.

Now we are nothing but amnesiac barbarians destroying our past and claiming the wreckage is enlightenment. Nov 05, Will rated it it was ok Shelves: It must be very difficult and disheartening to work with people whose lives are doomed by their inability to change — or rather, as he points out, by refusing to take responsibility for their lives; but I think he mistakes those failed individuals and families for the population at large.

In addition, he blames virtually everything on a breakdown in family, beginning around the 60s with, you guessed it, the Pill and working women.

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The ideal society seems to have existed some time between the Victorian era and the 50s, when everyone was polite, deferential and not too tolerant. He never explains how exactly, except that they apparently tolerate dysfunction and multiculturalism more than he does. Interestingly, while D stresses the importance of meaningful work as an essential part of belonging to society, he never examines the contribution of the Right and the multinationals to the despair of those whose jobs were exported offshore.

In short, while he does make some valid points, in the end this is just another angry but literate rant by an old conservative white guy. Not really sure why I persevered to the end. Apr 04, Kelly rated it it was amazing Shelves: A big shout out goes to my friend Steve for recommending this book and introducing me to this brilliant author. He is intelligent, sagacious and courageous I also fear I will have nightmares from a couple of the columns in this book. His perspective is incredibly interesting in regard to societal ills because of his work in Brit Bravo Mr. His perspective is incredibly interesting in regard to societal ills because of his work in British inner-city hospitals and prisons.

I look forward to reading more from him Sep 03, Holly Work rated it did not like it. These essays are so pathetically immature it is frustrating. Rather than providing any form of reference, Dalrymple relies on his own bigoted anecdotes to support his arguments. Prejudice and generalisations infect almost every page of his text. His writing comes across as angry and bitter and quite frankly if his content wasn't too stupid to consider it would be in danger of offending many people. May 17, Undine rated it really liked it. I never thought I would meet an author who makes me look like a ray of sunshine, but Mr.

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

Dalrymple manages to pull it off. These essays on civilization's decline are elegantly written, incisive, and largely convincing one needs only see the evening news to realize the world is fracturing badly. The book, however, has a very narrow scope, and--unsurprisingly for a former prison doctor--focuses largely on the worst elements in our society. It would have benefited from a more encompassing overvie I never thought I would meet an author who makes me look like a ray of sunshine, but Mr.

It would have benefited from a more encompassing overview. It's not the sort of book I'd bring to entertain a hospital patient, though. Mar 30, Nick Imrie rated it liked it Shelves: I disagree with Dalrymple on many things, but he's still my favourite writer to go to when I feel the need to challenge my own assumptions, prejudices and opinions. Is originality really that important in art? Is it always good to be non-judgmental? What is the value of being transgressive?

His writing can be lucid and moving, but sometimes suffers from pretentious long-windedness. His essays on good literature and its benefits are a joy to read. No-one could disagree with 'Sex and the Shakespear I disagree with Dalrymple on many things, but he's still my favourite writer to go to when I feel the need to challenge my own assumptions, prejudices and opinions. No-one could disagree with 'Sex and the Shakespeare Reader's caution against fundamentalism.

Almost every essay in the arts and letters section made me want to read every author he recommended. There were also some hilarious deflations of literature's 'greats'.


Virginia Woolf was taken down a peg for being a self-pitying whiner; Marx is a narcissist; D. Lawrence is a vulgar bore who can't write. Even if you disagree and I am generally a Woolf fan you can't fail to enjoy these precision puncturings. His opinions on society and politics I find harder to agree with.

This is partly because of his infuriating failure to back up his opinions with actual numbers. Dalrymple works, deliberately, among the most impoverished sections of British society and yet he assumes that what he witnesses is indicative of a universal trend. On the rare occasion where numbers are included the source isn't given. And so it's difficult to believe him when he claims that crime and violence of all kinds is rising.

A History of Violence and Humanity in which Pinker provides ample evidence to demonstrate that crime and violence have been in a long decline. Dalrymple condemns the intelligentsia for dismantling our civilisation, through their post-modern insistence that there is no right or wrong, good or bad, and their subsequent promotion of drugs, profanity and promiscuity. He then goes on to demonstrate the detrimental effects of these things on the working class.

But plenty of people can indulge in sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll without becoming utterly depraved. Should we conclude that the middle class are capable of indulgences that the working class cannot handle? Doesn't this lead us to the unfortunate conclusion that there should be one law for the rich and one for the poor? Or should we limit the freedom of everyone because for a few that freedom leads to self-destruction?

Elsewhere I just flat-out disagree with him. I honestly can't see anything wrong with people changing sex if they want to, or in many cases need to, and describing demands for tolerance as 'shrill' in this instance seems rather petty. Despite disagreeing with him, I do find Dalrymple thought-provoking. I find myself uncomfortable, but persuaded, when he elegantly demonstrates how a welfare culture makes people dependent and their dependency infantilises them, robbing them of the capacity to ever extricate themselves from the situation.

But what is the solution? Should we return to the Victorian era when poor children died of cholera but, hey, at least they had their dignity? I don't know, I don't think Dalrymple does either, but he does make me think about it. Aug 12, Peter N. This is excellent book on two levels. First, he is a good writer. There are so many great lines and paragraphs. He is not easy to read at places due to his high vocabulary. He is smart man who spent his days in the prison hospital and the hospital for low income people. He is smart, but realistic, which makes his writing excellent.

Second, he pulls back and exposes so many of the lies of modern, liberal, sentimental, culture. He does this by using specific situations, such as art exhibit, Prince This is excellent book on two levels. He does this by using specific situations, such as art exhibit, Princess Diana's death, his time as a doctor in Rhodesia, or a murder trial, to expose the folly modern thinking. He says what so many are afraid to, such as the sentimental outpouring after Diana's death was a lie, multiculturalism is impossible, most modern art is trash, or that Britain shouldn't get upset at 22 year old men raping 12 year old girls, when the whole culture pushes sexual freedom on almost every level.

He does this not in anger or bitterness, but in a matter of fact, "this is the way it is" way. He sees clearly the black hole that moral relativism has sunk us into. But he is not into nostalgia, as his last essay on the British Empire shows. While he is not a Christian, his understanding of original sin, a term he uses in several essays, protects him from the Utopian dreams of so many moderns. The one drawback is that his answers are not complete enough.

He realizes that Britain is destroying herself, but he is not clear on how to stem the tide. He is great at diagnosis, but the cure alludes him. Perhaps that is because he does not believe there is a cure. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a better grasp on modern culture and what happens when sentimental ideas about how to help people mature and be better destroy actual people. My Rating System 1 Star-Terrible book and dangerous. Burn it in the streets. Few books I read are 1 or 2 stars because I am careful about what I read. Would not read it again, reference it, or recommend it.

But it is not necessarily dangerous except as a time waster. This does not mean I agree with everything in it. I would recommend this book to others and would probably read it again or reference it. There is a quite a variety here. Classic in the genre or top of the line for the subject. I might also put a book in here that impacted me personally at the time I read it.

I would highly recommend this book, even if I do not agree with all that it says. Few books fall in this category. Over time I have put less in this category. Jan 18, Douglas Wilson rated it it was amazing Shelves: Jan 16, Adam Ross rated it really liked it Shelves: A profound and literary exploration of our declining modernist culture. Dalrymple has more insights per page than most have per book. Jan 07, Corey rated it it was amazing Shelves: Will be required reading for each of my kids before they leave the house.

Of course I don't have kids yet. I'm just planning ahead. Jul 10, Rutger rated it liked it. Don't hold back, Theodore. I have a personal affinity for Don't hold back, Theodore. On every issue he shares his inner thoughts and misgivings. Then again, how many people really want to live the lifestyle of yesteryear?

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Dalrymple tends to conflate all forms of social change into a general sense of degeneracy. This is overblown stuff. For one thing, life is fun. Yes, despite our problems, Western life is much better — more challenging, more stimulating, more entertaining — than it used to be. However, Dalrymple does hold back on some issues. For one thing, he mentions problems with immigrants and immigration, but I never see him talking numbers or unpleasant facts. Similarly, he wants drugs to not be legalized — fair enough — but he should be more honest about the socioeconomic consequences of keeping drugs illegal: Is this a price worth paying?

It seems to be often an all or nothing thing for Dalrymple. Oct 21, Emily Sullivan rated it did not like it. One star because I don't agree with Dalrymple's ideology. I throughly enjoyed disagreeing with almost all of his conclusions of the causes of our country's social ills and would have given the book 4 stars if I hadn't felt that this might imply that I'm against free education and healthcare and the welfare state.

I am against Virginia Woolf because she wrote boring novels and not because she wanted to make bonfires out of schools and Lawrence even though the phrase 'twinkling buttocks' is tru One star because I don't agree with Dalrymple's ideology. I am against Virginia Woolf because she wrote boring novels and not because she wanted to make bonfires out of schools and Lawrence even though the phrase 'twinkling buttocks' is truly inspired and I hope to use it in general conversation soon and serial killers and bits of preserved carcass in art galleries rather than paintings of nice things.

The book is a collection of short essays united by the underlying theme of social critique. The author takes the lens of conservatism and applies it to such disparate topics as analyzing Shakespeare, drug legalization, a comparative essay on Marx and Turgenev, the death of princess Diana, reports of mass murderers. The underlying message of the book seems to be that setting limits - on Our Culture, What's Left of It: The underlying message of the book seems to be that setting limits - on love, expression and behavior through culture makes us more human not less as seems to be the mode of current intellectual thought.

The book is divided into two parts: Arts and Letters, and Society and Politics. Arts and Letters focuses on culture and art and how the two are intertwined. In another part of the book the author asserts and I'm paraphrasing that "Human understanding hasn't progressed since Shakespeare". Indeed, the author's admiration of Shakespeare is readily apparent in the two essays: In the former, Dalrymple analyzes Macbeth and how the book's message on violence and terror even now - in a society that has lived through Nazism and Communism. The latter essay focuses on Measure for Measure and how human sexuality and morals have regressed since the XVII century.

Some other interesting essays in this part of the book were: The Rage of Virginia Woolf in which the author criticizes Mrs Woolf and her worldview, so typical of intellectuals of the past and the present; How - and How Not - To Love Mankind which compares Ivan Turgenev along with one of his selected work: But Is It Art? Society and Politics focuses on social and political analysis, though oftentimes from a cultural point of view. In How to Read a Society, Dalrymple explores the writing of Marquis de Custine and his La Russie en and how the book predicted the rise of totalitarianism.

By analyzing the fabric of society - customs, architecture and the social hierarchy Marquis de Custine was correctly able to predict the rise of the communist regime along with the horrors that it entailed. But the author explores another angle of the mass murder phenomenon - how modern British society that sets no limits on conduct of children and teenagers does them a disservice and makes them an easy pray for deviants.

I wish, that at some point in life, I'll be able to write with such wit and depth as Dalrymple does. His essay on Marx and Turgenev was especially striking to me but his other essays had me reconsider my stances on censorship, drug legalization and taking care of appearances. The author has a knack of presenting even the most gruesome or sombre topics with an entertaining style.

With quotes like "He had never known his father, who ha not even achieved the status of myth in his mind. His father's existence was more of a logical deduction" one could think that the author is unfeeling, yet feeling and sympathy are at the forefront of his writing.