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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

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  376 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Theodore Dalrymple's new book of essays follows on the extraordinary success of his earlier collections, Life at the Bottom and Our Culture, What's Left of It. No social critic 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 declin ...more
Hardcover, 252 pages
Published 2008 by Ivan R. Dee Publisher
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Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
JoséMaría BlancoWhite
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: current-events
"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
Sep 29, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Marcos Junior
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Darymple nos mostra como as idéias dos intelectuais progressistas se tornaram dominantes na Grã-Bretanha e passaram a serem implantadas pela burocracia governamental com um resultado arrasador paras as classes mais pobres, gerando ambientes familiares destruídos, dependência de ajuda governamental, falta de propósito e explodindo em atos de violência.
Rick Skwiot
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing

I recently read and enjoyed, if that’s the right word, two of the curmudgeonly doctor Theodore Dalrymple’s admirably written and perceptive essay collections, “Our Culture, What’s Left of it: The Mandarins and the Masses” and “Not With a Bang but a Whimper: The Politics and Culture of Decline.” For I came away sadder and wiser, particularly regarding the sorry state of Great Britain, whose illegitimacy and crime rates now rival or exceed those of the U.S. There, as here, the breakdown of the fam
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A collection of essays written by a former prison psychiatrist. To say that he has a unique voice and strong opinions would be an understatement.

The book is a mix of literary criticism, social commentary and observations about human nature. It is sobering, and pessimistic. It only makes sense that someone who's worked with the most troubled and dysfunctional segments of society wouldn't have the most sunny disposition - not about those segments, and not about the society as a whole.

You won't fi
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
Not With a Bang But a Whimper - The Politics and Culture of Decline is a collection of essays by Theodore Dalrymple.

The common thread of the articles gathered in the book is alluded to in the subtitle. The author explores policies and cultural shifts in Great Britain that contributed to its moral decline. The essays repeat the motifs of the author's previous books, though I agree with Dalrymple's observation, made in the analysis of The Road to Serfdom, that it's better to remind people of old t
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Um dos melhores títulos do Mestre dos Ensaios.
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I might be tempted to read one more book from the same author.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent collection of essays, this one culminating in a final sentence that chilled my soul after I read it.
Charlotte Strandkvist
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Didn't finish it. ...more
George Eraclides
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
A magnificent essayist (an old art form which has been in decline) writing about the human condition.
No further recommendation needed.
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
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 26, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Kip Lowery
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
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
Oct 19, 2013 rated it liked it
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!
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cultural-studies
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. ...more
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great essayist! The last essay (After Empire) in this book has been reprinted in another one of his more recent books if memory serves right. I particularly like the essay (What Makes Dr Johnson Great?) though misprinted on the contents page. Worth a read!
Bob Croft
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful series of essays. Particularly incisive - "The Murderess's Tale" and "The Roads to Serfdom". ...more
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 02, 2011 rated it liked it
The second half was good, but very repetitive. The first half was mostly uninteresting. In summary, a disappointment after reading "Life at the Bottom". ...more
Paul Doody
Jun 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Doom-laden but interesting account of why modern society is so inimical to happiness.
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
engagingly written and an interesting read, but ultimately wrong on too many points, and often unbearably self-satisfied.
Alan Hughes
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, non-fiction, politics
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.
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-of-2009
rated it really liked it
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Anthony Malcolm Daniels, who generally uses the pen name Theodore Dalrymple, is an English writer and retired prison doctor and psychiatrist. He worked in a number of Sub-Saharan African countries as well as in the east end of London. Before his retirement in 2005, he worked in City Hospital, Birmingham and Winson Green Prison in inner-city Birmingham, England.

Daniels is a contributing editor to C

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“I'm in a weird place because the book is about to come out. So I'm basically just walking around like a raw nerve and I'm not sure that I...
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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?” 12 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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