Our Culture, What's Left of It :
The Mandarins and the Masses

Ivan R. Dee, 2005
By Theodore Dalrymple

Library Journal Review, May 15, 2005

Physician/essayist Dalrymple may describe himself as "an ordinary and respectable son of the English middle classes, with a proper profession," but there is nothing ordinary about him. He has practiced medicine in the far-flung corners of the world and, most recently, among the British underclass. In his latest collection (after Life at the Bottom), he once again proves that he is an astute observer of life: in "The Frivolity of Evil," for example, he notes the replacement of the word unhappy with the word depressed by people who want their too willing doctors to prescribe medication. Divided under the headings "Arts and Letters" and "Society and Politics," the essays also deal with literature, history, and current events; Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Stefan Zweig, Karl Marx, Fidel Castro, and Marilyn Manson are among those who dance across the pages. It is Dalrymple's moral courage, however, that shines through the most-not to mention his ability to ask why and how something happened (e.g., the extreme vulgarity of some British art). He even, heaven help him, has the temerity to suggest what one might do to remedy society's evils. Compelling reading; highly recommended for all libraries.

-Ellen D. Gilbert, Princeton, NJ





Manhattan Institute

Book Info:

Available at
ISBN: 1566636434

"…There is so much learning and unconventional wisdom in it that you want to make the reading last."
- Norman Stone

"The brutal, penetrating honesty of his thinking and the vividness of his prose make Dalrymple the Orwell of our time."
- Denis Dutton,
editor Arts & Letters Daily




City Journal