Review of "Not With a Bang But a Whimper" by Theodore Dalrymple

You can find the book here.

As with the rest of Dr Dalrymple's books, this one is a collection of essays that fits together very nicely.  They are all beautifully written, insightful and often sad.  There are memorable essays on Dr Johnson, Shakespeare, and Anthony Burgess.  There are, as always, memorable essays on some the underclass whom Dr Dalrymple works with.

If one takes away from Dr Dalrymple, it is that life is deeply imperfect and cannot be made perfect.  Attempts to arrive at perfection results in incredibly tragic consequences.  In a way, Dr Dalrymple also does what good reporters used to do, before good reporting died.  There is no better way to get a sense for the reality of the modern life of the underclass than by reading Dalrymple.

His observations about crime are also memorable: "the young, poor and prosperous alike, have imposed a curfew on the older after dark, and on everyone on Friday and Saturday nights."  Government doesn't even try to stop crime anymore.  In fact, government works in the worst possible way.  Everything that everyone does is recorded by the police, but crime continues to increase.  To understand this seeming paradox, you must read your Dalrymple.

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