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

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In Not with a Bang But a Whimper, Dalrymple 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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About 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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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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