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The New Vichy Syndrome: Why European Intellectuals Surrender to Barbarism Hardcover – March 9, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; (states first american) edition (March 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594033722
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594033728
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.9 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Theodore Dalrymple is a former psychiatrist and prison doctor. He writes a column for The Spectator of London, contributes frequently to the Daily Telegraph, and is a contributing editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. He lives in France.

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Customer Reviews

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I can't wait to return to the text.
Burke Lanthorn
I understand that this is not a book, but an extended essay, and there are nuggets of insight, but they are mostly about Britain, and not European intellectuals.
Erik Eisel
I think George Orwell may have been the author, but I am not certain.
Jerry Saperstein

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 70 people found the following review helpful By J. Scott Shipman on March 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the best books I've read in a long time. Dalrymple is, as a cover review reads, "erudite, witty, unfashionably blunt, and above all, wise." "Unfashionably blunt" is an understatement as he offers diagnosis for much of what is "wrong" in Europe, when the downward spiral started (with lots of examples), the result, and a modest warning for America in the last chapter. New Vichy is a short 155 pages, but is profound, alarming, and instructive. If you like Dalrymple's work, this addition won't disappoint.
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Buckley-Golder on March 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The thoughts presented in this book are interesting and logically-presented and this is quite apart from whether you will agree with them or not.

As another review mentioned, the focus is quite loose and really only offers thoughts around the subject matter suggested by the title and doesn't really answer the "why?" in his subtitle conclusively. It is presented as a book but reads more like a collection of essays interspersed with shorter pieces of commentary. Admittedly, though, it is a very speculative subject and perhaps a loose response is more appropriate than a tight, definitive one. To obtain a meaningful version of the latter may be difficult. But, Dalrymple provides you a view from his educated and thoughtful perspective.

I am also not sure about the "barbarism" part, since this is not a "radicalization of Europe via changing demographics" argument like Mark Steyn's "America Alone". In fact, he seems to disagree with this idea. This book is more about how the mental environment in Europe is not conducive to success in an increasingly competitive global market: they reject values of their past and are afraid of formulating concrete statements of truth and fact that would allow them to construct a foundation for future progress.

One thing I like about Dalrymple's style is that he doesn't overdo the references. In books such as these, references can sometimes be a lazy way of making your point, but he uses a lot of thought experiments that you can often test for yourself to make a decision about whether or not he's on the right track. He continues to use this approach here.

Finally, with Dalrymple being such an expert user of the English language, I was surprised to see a significant number of typographical errors throughout the text. His use of the language continues to be excellent, but the errors do break the spell a little bit.

It's a concise book that will make you think.
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73 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Erik Eisel on March 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, let it be known that I am a Dalrymple fan, as is evidenced by the fact that I read this book days within its appearance. "Culture, what's left of it" was a tour de force. I read it out on the street under the light of a streetlamp, so I could be away from the wife and kids, and concentrate. So, it is hard for me to say, that Dalrymple fans should skip this one. I understand that this is not a book, but an extended essay, and there are nuggets of insight, but they are mostly about Britain, and not European intellectuals. I agree with the thesis that Europe is in decline, and the grand European intellectual tradition does have enough weight to provide resistance to this trend. But, this text loses its focus after the first couple of short chapters. Dalrymple probes for various "causes" - why are we like this? - for this decline, but none of these are probed more than superficially. Perhaps, I will go back one day, to recognize the import of these attempts. At this time, my verdict is that this text is incoherent, and its author appears tired.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mark E. Baxter VINE VOICE on May 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dalrymple is a retired British Physician and writer known for a series of articles and books criticising the modern European Civilization. In this his most recent book, he comments on current trends in Europe, and by extension, the western world.

On the cover, one reviewer notes that Dalrymple is "erudite, witty, unfashionably blunt and, above all, wise." This is a perfect description of the author and cannot be improved upon. It is important to understand the author to understand the book because he writes from a highly personal perspective without the usual citations of sociological works. Some would criticize this perspective, but Dalrymple never claims to be scientific; he only claims to be so self-evidently right that his positions require no supporting footnotes.

So what perspective can you expect from this book then? On page 83, while discussing his dual role as a Brit and as a member of the the European Union he admits "my nation now specializ[es] in the breeding up of charmless drunken screaming vulgarians." That's pretty blunt. He calls tattoos a "savage and stupid form of self-mutilation". He notes that all four groups of Sunni Muslims sentence converts to Christianity to death. (And that's the moderate Muslims?) He condemns political correctness saying we are "pass[ing] laws to preserve sensitive bigots from hurt feelings."

Excellent and forthright sentiments, I know, but this book actually has less of that than his previous books which I found to be better and more straightforward. The author has retired and so has less anecdotes from his suicidal, promiscuous, felonious slackers in his practice making this book drier than his previous efforts.
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