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Farewell Fear Paperback – October 1, 2012
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Those of us who are dyed-in-the-wool Theodore Dalrymple fans will welcome his latest book, Farewell Fear - a collection of essays more contemplative than his eye-witness, slice-of-life essays on the British lower class in his Life at the Bottom and other books. But there are nuggets of wry insights in Farewell Fear as well, and on a wider range of subjects, often devastating the conventional wisdom of our times. For example, he does not buy the idea that violent ideological movements are a result of the desperation of the poor. He points out, for example, that Cuba’s revolutionary movement was led by Fidel Castro, who “was both highly privileged, with a sense of entitlement and deeply resentful, always a dreadful combination.” That same could be said of Karl Marx, among others. Farewell Fear is a somewhat different kind of book by Theodore Dalrymple, but with the same thought-provoking insights.
-- Thomas Sowell author of Intellectuals and Society and The Thomas Sowell Reader
Once encountered, Theodore Dalrymple has become for many of us a shared treasure—the cultured, often mordantly funny social commentator who was for many years a psychiatrist at a British prison. This collection of recent essays captures Dalrymple at his best, ruminating at one moment about why poisoners tend to be more interesting than other kinds of murderers and at another why Tony Blair’s mind reminds him of an Escher drawing. No one else writes so engagingly and so candidly about the world as it is, not as the politically correct would have it be.
-- Dr. Charles Murray author of Coming Apart and The Bell Curve
Dr. Dalrymple's eye alights on a topic--hedgehogs, insincerity, dictators; his mind dissects it; his imagination embroiders it; his judgment delivers an appropriate verdict, usually condemnation; and his sensibility ensures that all these activities are conceived, argued, and expressed wittily or sadly but always beautifully. This book is high intellectual meandering.
-- John O’Sullivan author of The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister
About the Author
Theodore Dalrymple is a former prison doctor and psychiatrist. He has been arrested as a spy in Gabon, been sought by the South African police for violating apartheid, visited the site of a civilian massacre by the government of Liberia, concealed his status as a writer for fear of execution in Equatorial Guinea, infiltrated an English communist group in order to attend the World Youth Festival in North Korea, performed Shakespeare in Afghanistan, smuggled banned books to dissidents in Romania, been arrested and struck with truncheons for photographing an anti-government demonstration in Albania and crossed both Africa and South America using only public transportation. He is also the author of more than two dozen books and innumerable essays.
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Top Customer Reviews
In it you will find discussions of Brits who love hedgehogs, the Irish bubble, terrorism in Mumbai, an analysis of some intellectual fool who puts Margaret Thatcher in the same "class" as Napoleon and Hitler, an essay describing some of the genuinely good people he has known, and taking abundance for granted: "Without gratitude, there is no happiness."
More: the poisoner Graham Young, feminist editors who change his "mankind" to "humankind" (which he rightly calls barbarism), Fujimori and his destruction of the "Shining Path" in Peru, why we should put crooks in jail (despite a French intellectual calling for "the abolition of prisons"), and a fairly brutal send-up of leftists who want to raise the inheritance tax to 100%, all the while practicing deficit financing. As Dalrymple acidly points out, this means we can't leave our kids the house, but we can leave them our debts, which strikes him as a very strange moral system.
Other topics include: spending a week with a TV in his house (he hated it), Internet hate mail, the culture of dependency instituted among Kurds in Great Britain, his dislike of professional sport and its fans, the death of his dog, the death of art, men who throw acid in women's faces, personal ads, and Haydn string quartets.
I particularly liked his summary of the housing bubble in Britain: "Our banks were no good, our government was no good, and we were no good. Other than that, everything was fine." (!!)
His stance against welfare, soft prison sentencing and forgiveness of domestic violence gives hope that the battle for decency is not lost, and that the cycle of dreadful upbringing and crime can be broken.
From the first essay on (which is about people that save hedgehogs) I was deeply fascinated by the way in which he pulls several subject into the same essay and manages to write about them in a dry, humorous yet eloquent way.
An absolute masterpiece!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Actually this is literal, because it appears to be a reprint of previous articles. If you haven't read them they are as always thought provoking.Published 4 months ago by Richard Bell
Farewell Fear is another compelling collection of essays by Theodore Dalrymple. His interests are wide ranging and, unlike most media columnists, he understands society from the... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Sirin
With wit and grace he exposes modern follies. I recommend all his works; a Dr. Johnson for our times. Excellent.Published 24 months ago by Joe
Theodore Dalrymple has long been one of the most insightful and humane of essayists. Drawing on his own personal experience as a physician among the poverty stricken in London he... Read morePublished on April 7, 2014 by Shalom Freedman
A number of Dalrymple anthologies are available. All deserve reading but this one has the advantage of being the most recent, these newspaper columns having been written in the... Read morePublished on January 9, 2014 by Steve Harrison