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Not With A Bang But A Whimper: The Politics And Culture Of Decline
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Not With A Bang But A Whimper: The Politics And Culture Of Decline

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  148 ratings  ·  16 reviews
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 d ...more
Kindle Edition, 266 pages
Published (first published 2008)
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Alicia
In Not with a Bang, Dalrymple writes about the loss of British culture and character. Dalrymple is a retired psychiatrist and prison physician who has worked all over the world. He is an excellent essayist and social commentator, and although I do not always agree with his views--I greatly admire his honesty, ferocity, and erudition. This volume was an interesting but somewhat disjointed collection of literary analysis (of such authors as Ibsen, Burgess, Orwell) and editorial on contemporary Bri ...more
Jay
Theodore Dalrymple is the pseudonym of Anthony Daniels, a retired English doctor now living in France. He writes frequently of political, social, and philosophical matters. I had hoped this book, with its subtitle "The Politics and Culture of Decline" was a single essay that would examine the decline of Western civilization, its causes, its likely outcomes, and possible methods of avoiding the bad end. I was a little disappointed that it is instead a collection of separate though related vignett ...more
JoséMaría BlancoWhite
"Liberals ... have destroyed the family and any notion of progress or improvement. They have made a world in which the only freedom is self-indulgence, a world from which -most terrible of all- prison can sometimes be a liberation."

A keen observer and one who can write so concisely, and express himself this well, has to be treasured by anyone who enjoys the art of reading: "I miss, for instance, the sudden illumination into the worldview of my patients that their replies to simple questions some
...more
Mary Catelli
A collection of essays. A sampler, not a thematic collection. But Dalrymple brings his usual wit and insight to all of them, from medical issues in William Shakespeare's plays, to public discourse, to government bureaucracy, to the importance of standard English to slum children, to the psychology of terrorism.

Includes a great many appalling insights in the horrors of bureaucracy. One would say incompetence if there were any evidence that the bureaucrats were actually trying to carry out their p
...more
Andrea
In my rush to find a couple books to read before the library closed in 5 minutes, I saw this title and grabbed it, thinking this would be a much different book. I wanted to learn about how different cultures dealt with the declining power in the fall of their civilizations - what I got instead was a cranky, condescending British guy complaining about how the world is terrible.

Too cynical, too pedantic, too judgmental. No thanks, not for me.
Steve
I received this as a Christmas present from my son Mark. This is a good book for nibbling reading, in other words a book you leave around the toilet, or wherever you can do some hit and run reading. There are some interesting facts and anecdotes, with a lot of strong judgments, some of which I share and others I do not.

The author points out the dysfunctional nature of modern bureaucracy, when combined with political correctness, ideological agendas like multiculturalism and the arrogant belief o
...more
Jeffrey
Master essayist and thinker, Theodore Dalrymple is back with a new collection of 19 essays that will answer a bevy of questions on societal problems, or at least clearly explain what those problems are and how they are destroying all in its reach.
Focusing mainly on the UK, his country of origin, Dalrymple continues to document the struggle against human nature and the many sorrows that accompany the failure to reign in our inner impulses. As always, his sections dealing with crime and the lack
...more
Kip Lowery
Here is an exceptional and hard hitting look at modern British culture with many implications for the U.S. As a psychiatrist and prison doctor, he argues that the current progressive views minimize the responsitilities for their own actions and leads to an almost encapsulated underclass of criminality and welfare dependence. I found his analysis of the British Police service simply jaw-dropping, and, as a side note, filled in the back drop for the movie "Hot Fuzz" for me. I found his searing ana ...more
Miriam
Another almost unbearably bleak collection of essays that, nevertheless, I found riveting. I don't usually enjoy books of the "the world is going to hell in a handbasket" variety, but Dalrymple's essays are not just Jeremiads--they often look at the social trends that cause society's problems instead of simply railing against them. He doesn't see any easy solutions, and in some cases, no solutions at all, but it is useful to see his analysis of the problems. I especially found his essays that lo ...more
Jessica
I think I read this bloke as punishment, though for what I am not entirely sure. I can just about cope with the conservative vitriol and am mildly amused when I half agree with him, but his argumentation is lazy at best. After the essay on New Atheists I would have thrown the book out of the window had not the following essays on Dresden and Empire been positively inspiring. Everyone should read this bloke, at least to have something to disagree with!
Iben
A recommendation from a conservative friend, I thought I'd give it a shot. It's actually far more engaging than I expected. Dalrymple is not as extreme as one would imagine, yet I did find myself shaking my head at the book every once in a while. Towards the end, it became a bit predictable, and I got a little bored.
Alan Hughes
An excellent book. I had feared it might be pessimistic but in amongst the warnings is advice on how the problems of our culture might be repaired and how the lumpenproletariat aided.
Philski
Excellent read, highly recommended. The man has a way with words. Each chapter can be considered a separate essay (in fact he wrote them as such) and read very easily.
Frank Peters
The second half was good, but very repetitive. The first half was mostly uninteresting. In summary, a disappointment after reading "Life at the Bottom".
Paul Doody
Doom-laden but interesting account of why modern society is so inimical to happiness.
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Anthony Daniels is a British writer and retired physician (prison doctor and psychiatrist), who generally uses the pen name Theodore Dalrymple. He has also used the pen name Edward Theberton and two other pen names. Before his retirement in 2005 he worked as a doctor and psychiatrist in a hospital and nearby prison in a slum area in Birmingham.
More about Theodore Dalrymple...
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality In Praise of Prejudice: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists Are Murdering Our Past Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy

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“How can one respect people as members of the human race unless one holds them to a standard of conduct and truthfulness?” 2 likes
“the state looms large in all our lives, not only in its intrusions but in our thoughts: for so thoroughly have we drunk at the wells of collectivism that we see the state always as the solution to any problem, never as an obstacle to be overcome. One can gauge how completely collectivism has entered our soul – so that we are now a people of the government, for the government, by the government – by a strange but characteristic British locution.” 0 likes
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