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The Abolition of Britain: From Winston Churchill to Princess Diana [Paperback]

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Item Number 282368  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   330
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.8" Width: 5.8" Height: 2"
Weight:   1.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 25, 2002
Publisher   Encounter Books
ISBN  1893554392  
EAN  9781893554399  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
In The Abolition of Britain, prominent English social critic Peter Hitchens writes of the period between the death of Winston Churchill and the funeral of Princess Diana, a time he believes has seen disastrous changes in English life. The current generation, he believes, looks back on Britain's illustrious past as if it were a foreign country. They have allowed a tradition stretching back hundreds of years to be replaced with "the most intolerant system of thought to dominate the British Isles since the Reformation." Accepted notions of patriotism, faith, and morality have been overthrown, along with the most fundamental notions of what it means to be a citizen. In the ethos surrounding Tony Blair's Labor Party, Hitchens finds a "politically correct zeal for the new" whose effect on daily life in England has been "devastating." A surprise best seller in England, The Abolition of Britain is bitingly witty and fiercely argued, yet also filled with somber appreciation for what "the idea of England" has always meant to the West and to the world.

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More About Peter Hitchens

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Peter Hitchens is a British journalist, author and broadcaster. He witnessed most of the final scenes of the Cold War, and was a resident correspondent in the Soviet capital and in Washington, DC. He frequently revisits both Russia and the USA. He currently writes for the Mail on Sunday, where he is a columnist and occasional foreign correspondent, reporting most recently from Iran, North Korea, Burma, The Congo and China. He won the journalism category in the 2010 George Orwell Prize for this correspondence.

Peter Hitchens currently resides in Oxford. Peter Hitchens was born in 1951.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Brilliantly researched and written analysis of moral inversion  Feb 19, 2007
Peter Hitchens writes a devastatingly effective portrait of the loss that Britain has sustained primarily at the hands of the cultural and political Left. There are many impressive things about this book, but, for me, Hitchens' pellucid explanation of the process of moral inversion is priceless.

One example, perhaps one of the most important is the transformation of government policy on the issue of illegitimacy. Initally the British government defined illegimat births as a problem and something to be discouraged. First under the banner of "compassion" the social penalties associated with illegitimacy were removed and out-of-wedlock births were treated as normal and nothing to worry about. Lest you acuse Hitchens' of cruelty, he points out that removing penalties suffered by the child were proper, but, that the government led society far further to the complete abandonment of the position that children deserve to be born into a home with a married mother and father. The phrase "single-parent families became the standard description demonstrating a complete lack of moral disapproval of illegimitacy. In the end, those who wished to discourage illegitimacy were condemned themselves with the standard description of "judgmentalism." Society could not exist without adults exercising judgment and distinguishing between wise and moral conduct and careless, damaging and immoral conduct. The moral inversion was now complete, the only immoral act was to criticize illegitimacy.

Again, Hitches' gives on of the best explanations of why it is important to maintain the special place of marriage in society. Traditional Britain reserved sex as a privilege enjoyed by those who TOOK ON THE LIFELONG RESPONSIBLITY for their spouse and any children that the marriage might produce.

Women are just beginning to realize the damage that they have done to themselves by the near destruction of traditional marriage. Men have little incentive to marry and potentially subject themselves to the gristmill of divorce in modern times. Women have lost the benefit of a true, life-long spouse, a benefit provided by society and supported by all of its institutions. Now, as Hitchens' points out women must constantly compete for their men's attention and devotion because "relationships" can be ended at any time for any reason with little or no consequence. As long as women are young, beautiful and/or well-to-do they will win the competition, how will they fare in their later years? No one dare ask. Our grandmother's generation endured much that was difficult but few faced the prospect of a lonely old age without a companion. Today's feminists have one a very stark prospect at the end of their lives, along and with no children to ensure their proper care. Not pretty.

Culturally a society that abandons its own children to television cannot compete with a more disciplined society. Family cohesiveness is necessary to develop disciplined and focused individuals that can truly lead a society. Computer game obsessed, semi-literates will not be able to compete in the world economy and their country will end up dominated by others.

Hitchens' notes that the very culture that birthed the stable and prosperous democracies of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and India has nearly been destroyed without proper remembrance: music, literature, poetry, architecture, military tradition, true parliamentary democracy, nearly all gone or distorted in despicable ways. The loss of Britain is
truly a blow to the world and to the hopes for the survival of freedom on this planet.

Let us pray that the brilliant Mr. Hitchens is wrong and that the leadership exists to bring Britain back from the brink.

Most importantly for Americans, all the forces described by Hitchens' are at work in America and they have made substantial inroads. Our universities are almost totally corrupt, politicized propaganda mills for cultural Marxism and we, the general public, have been helpless so far to re-assert control even over our public institutions.
Hovis The Bread That Built a Nation  Nov 22, 2006
As a lad of 1970's England, I was treated to many of the socialist inspired cultural reformations that hurt Hitchens' heart. I didn't have a maths class, I had a class called "Logic." Sex education consisted of a film shown to my fellow 8 year olds of naked pre-pubescent kids jumping into a swimming pool...oh how we all cringed in embarrassment. We didn't read "Great Expectations" we read "Stig of the Dump." No school desks, we sat on tiny armchairs in a circle and discussed subjects.
There is a brilliance to much of Hitchens' lamentations in this work that makes for a sadness when one is made to realize all that has been forgotten and wrecked that was good about Britain.
That said, there is much I do not miss that he waxes nostalgic for. Society and culture rarely remain static, and the old adage about hindsight being twenty twenty applies to this book in many ways.
We had a TV commercial back in the 70's that pitched a brand of "brown bread" (it was colored that way, it was not whole grain)called Hovis. It depicted a young working class boy and his dad walking up a steep hill in the early part of the 20th century in a North England town. When they arrive home, cheerful mum has plenty of Hovis on hand. The music in the background, a traditional English brass band, plays a solemn yet cozy tune. By implication it was great back then, everyone was chipper, life was wholesome and of course, so is Hovis bread. A comedian, Tony Capstick, soon recorded a send up song to that tune speaking in voice over as the lad now all grown up that went something like this: I'll never forget that first day down pit(coal mine), me father and me worked a 72 hour shift, then walked 43 miles home in the freezing snow wearing sacks for clothing...we had a lot of good things in them days, rickets, diphtheria.
The book at times does come off as a little like the Hovis ad, and perhaps Hitchens' misty eyes for the past are at points clouded more by sentimentalism than reality. He is a conservative but a statist conservative. He wants the government to nanny society just as liberals do; just in opposite ways. It is perhaps this facet of his thinking that I find most disagreeable. If there are now schools in Britain that are essentially Islamic madrassas that he dislikes, it is a consequence of the state sponsoring Christian schools earlier on that he liked. If homes have become cookie-cutter and characterless it is a consequence of government provided housing. The decline of the church, perhaps a response to having religion as an arm of the state. Hitchens' dislikes the virtual disappearance of the British Union Flag in preference to the specifically English St. George Cross. I consider myself English and not British, because like many of my countrymen I realize that Britain is a political contrivance not an identity.
Hitchens' makes his case eloquently even if not in my opinion always accurately, but we both agree that what Britain is now is a pitiful spectre of it's past great attributes.
Astute commentary on social change in Britain  Sep 30, 2005
This is an extended lament of what he sees as the social decline, a "cultural revolution", of Britain. By "abolition", Hitchens means that the carefully constructed and venerated institutions and social strands that bind together a large population on a small island are coming unwound, and the result will be nothing less than the overthrow of the social order and its replacement with who knows what.

There is much to regret. Many large bureaucracies have been infiltrated and hijacked by a few with, no doubt, good intentions but shocking results. Thus he gives examples of an Anglican church with bishops who no longer believe in God, or government-funded organizations that provide for sex education for "people" as young as 7. Other chapters, such as the creation of suburbs amongst charming country villages, or the sexual revolution wrought by the contraceptive pill, will resonate with conservative audiences but will be unconvincing to liberals and libertarians. But even here, his deliberately stodgy conservative perspective is meant to show how unimaginable today's Britain would be to, say, a mourner at Churchill's funeral 40 years ago.

Overall, this is a very well-written conservative essay in the classic and ongoing debate, in which liberals wish to overthrow a social order they see as class-based, racist and standing in the way of progress, while conservatives see the status-quo as virtuous, and the embodiment of a deep-rooted compromise arrived at only after great upheaval. Whether or not we care about the debate, we are all certainly subject to its outcome.
A must-read to save a great civilization from extinction,  Nov 23, 2004
30 years ago I lived up-country, deep in the African bush. Every evening I twiddled the dials and adjusted the antenna on my short-wave radio. I was tuning into the World Service of the BBC and its radio serial "the Archers - an everyday story of country folk". This serial was the epitome of Englishness - robust, honest and worthy farming families leading their lives steeped in the rich cultural heritage of England. It was a world immensely civilized and comforting - it reinforced my identity - a universe woven through with integrity, self reliance, generosity, self restraint and common sense. Its institutions, parishes, policemen drew their strength, legitimacy and harmony from a centuries-long process of growth and adaptation.
Peter Hitchens describes how this world was subverted and finally chain-sawed into oblivion by an unholy coterie of jealous and doctrinaire do-gooders, misfits, intellectuals and an evermore influential leftwing media.

We now live in a geographic entity called Britain where state schools are obliterating our extraordinary achievements with a Stalinist airbrushing of history; where policemen operate like an occupying army; where the media indoctrinate the population with trash culture and scandalously biased `news' and opinion.

Now I know why I became out of sorts with the Archers. Those stolid farmers had become uncertain, self-critical, simpering, lap-dogs to masterful, bossy, manipulative and crusading wives. They were eating quiche for tea and measuring their manure in "kilos". In the novel `1984' George Orwell invoked a creepy feeling of alienness in the reader by having his hero go into an English pub and order a "litre" of beer. Well, pints are still in English pubs - just, but the new Archers' Britain invoked exactly the same feeling of alienness in me. And Peter Hitchens has explained why.

That Archers' England has been captured by scriptwriters, politicians and activists who have a clear agenda - to mock, denigrate and finally wipe out all that they could find of beauty and strength and worth - and replace it with a gender neutral, guilt-ridden, multicultural nightmare. Meanwhile the general population is sedated into apathy by consumer prosperity and brain rotting, social conditioning TV. It is an England that "would have lost at Trafalgar and Waterloo, and given up on the attempt to colonize America, because of the absence of safety nets, sexual equality and proper child care."

This same coterie hypocritically sends their children to élite schools to avoid them being turned into "mannerless, uncultured ignoramuses" by the state cooperative.

Peter Hitchens' work challenges head-on the new taboos and shibboleths erected by this coterie. Of course they spit and fume in frustration when he mercilessly dissects the cancerous, illogical and spiteful nature of their doctrines. Some of them have written sulphurous reviews on this page. Pay no attention to them - they are the Little Folk. Low self-esteem, the worm in the wood, the taint in the blood. They might change masters but they will be forever slaves.

As Anatole Kaletsky wrote, "a nation that loses its self awareness will lose its self-respect" and "Many people have become embarrassed, even afraid of being British". On those nosey, multi-racial official forms I am reduced to writing `Native English' in the `Other' box...

Is there any hope? Peter Hitchens book is a magnificent call to arms. It is required reading for the British people to confront the dry-rot that is eating the heart out of their cultural identity.
Simply Excellent!  Feb 7, 2004
In his book, "The Abolition of Britain", journalist Peter Hitchens states profoundly what many millions of Britons currently think - that the cultural revolution that swept the nation in the aftermath of Sir Winston Churchill's death has made many feel like foreigners in their own land. Particularly poignant is his contrast between the years 1965 and 1997, and the funerals of the Greatest Briton, Sir Winston Churchill, and Diana, Princess of Wales. In 1965, Britain was a restrained, conservative and patriotic society. A nation mourned at the death of a great man, but it did so in a solemn and dignified manner. Cranes were lowered in respect along the Thames and people filed quietly along to catch a glimpse of Churchill's coffin. Hitchens also makes marked contrasts between the general perceptions of the populations of both years. In 1965, Britons looked towards the Empire as an achievement to be proud of, and they looked back with pride over the 1000 years plus of British history. How different it is today. Hitchens' most potent revelation is his description of the marked contrast with the funeral of Lady Diana, when an outpouring of emotion swept over the nation in torrents. The funeral processions were most unlike those of Sir Winston. Hitchens correctly highlights Churchill's death as the point when the Britain of old, the Britain whose values it's gallant soldiers defended against the menaces of Hitler and the Kaiser, began to be seriously undermined by the politically-correct leftists. Hitchens' book is a profound indictment of Blairism and the fuzzy "Third Way" political system which it has created. This is a book that needs to read by ALL Britons, for it explains where the entire concept of Britain and the British became undermined. Excellent.

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