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The Abolition of Britain: From Winston Churchill to Princess Diana Paperback – Feb 15 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; New edition edition (Feb. 15 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893554392
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893554399
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.4 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,524,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter J. Hitchens on Nov. 20 2002
Format: Paperback
I object to the inclusion of the first review of my book 'The Abolition of Britain' in the amazon.com site. The 'reviewer' plainly has not read the book since he repeatedly and almost obsessively refers to content on immigration. The book does not even mention immigration. I don't object to uncomplimentary reviews. They are part of the author's job. But I am baffled that amazon.com should have selected this hostile and ignorant diatribe as the FIRST review of my book(out of more than 20) displayed on the site.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 35 reviews
70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
Sad Revelation of a Very British Coup Aug. 3 2001
By Andrew S. Rogers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
An Anglophile American reading this articulate, comprehensive, chilling, manifesto is bound to have two reactions. The first will be, 'I didn't realize it was as bad as this.' The second, dawning more slowly, will be 'How long before it gets this bad *here* too?'
Peter Hitchens argues that during the last decades, broadly speaking the era between Sir Winston Churchill's funeral in 1965 and Diana, Princess of Wales's in 1997, Britain was abolished. Not the land mass itself, obviously, but instead everything -- everything -- that once defined what it meant to be British. In chapter after relentless chapter, Hitchens shows the march of 'modern' PC orthodoxy through the Anglican Church, the marriage and divorce laws, the television and radio, the education system. History, the political system, the language, ancient ideas of loyalty and patriotism, virtue and service, even the very shape of the land itself ... all have within living memory been reshaped into something new, different -- and completely divorced from the past.
Many people have noted these changes. Hitchens' contribution lies in showing that the changes were not coincidental, but instead were deliberate, orchestrated even, and that many of the same activists were behind the various facets of the assaults.
Again and again, Hitchens produces evidence showing the arrogance and self-righteousness of the self-anointed 'reformers.' Again and again, they say, 'We recognize that the British people love the old ways, and that there is no popular clamour for change. Nevertheless, change we must.' Hitchens argues that what the 'reformers' have never been able adequately to answer is, 'Why?' And more to the point, 'Why was it necessary to destroy the old way, and make the new way mandatory?'
Why, indeed? Why, for example, is Britain now jailing farmers and shopkeepers for using Imperial measurements instead of metric ones? Why is the government trying to abolish trial by jury and the right to self-defense?
Sad to say, this book, while insightful and spirited, is almost unrelievedly depressing. It is literally only in the last few paragraphs of the final chapter that Hitchens offers any sort of hopeful outlook ... and even then, it is only to suggest ways to keep the future from becoming yet bleaker. What has been destroyed has been destroyed forever.
Indeed, it's sad to note that in the year or so since this book came out, things in Britain have in fact gotten worse. Tony Blair has taken yet more steps toward a presidential style of government, shoving aside still further both the monarchy and the House of Commons. I'm sure Hitchens finds no joy in being a prophet, but he seems to be, unfortunately, on the right track.
For anyone who loves Britain -- and especially for Americans whose idea of Britain is shaped by 'Masterpiece Theatre' and other PBS offerings -- this sad, wonderful book serves as the gravestone of an idealized vision, and a warning to our own country.
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Review From A Briton... May 1 2001
By Richard Semple - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I think, with the lack of reviews from actual British people resident in Britain under customer comments upon this book, it behoves me to put across the viewpoint that other reviewers seem to have been asking for.
The cover of Peter Hitchens' book shows the Union Jack, the flag of Great Britain, flown at half-mast. The image comes from the days after Princess Diana died and part of a nation mourned. Notably, however, another part of it clearly did not. Hitchens takes this fact and runs with it, and he is not wrong to do so. He points out that, as part of Britain poured out its emotion in a tremendous fashion, another part looked on aghast at the nakedness of sentiment being displayed. I am a mere 20 years of age, but as a passionate Brit I do not find it hard to sympathise with the point he is making here.
Most of the time we in Britain look around and things seem okay. Occasionally we wonder whether things aren't just a little bit wrong. In the aftermath of Princess Diana's death, some of us felt like strangers in our own land. The author is right to state that people are asking now and may continue to ask in ever greater numbers: exactly what happened to the country they thought they grew up in? The point is as true for all the other English-speaking nations in the world as it is for Britain.
Certainly, as some reviewers have pointed out, it would have to be conceded that Hitchens on occasion puts on rose-tinted spectacles when examining a British past often characterised by impoverishment and occasionally meaningless sacrifice. But he is no fool, and if he sometimes lapses into sentiment then we ought to forgive him if only for the many other highly relevant and prescient points he makes in this work. Further to that, he may look at Britain and see only England, but to all Americans who might not be aware of this fact (including, apparently, some reviewers here), England is absolutely the dominant constituent part of the United Kingdom and in fact houses 85% of the inhabitants - this much has not changed drastically for a century, so if England is all he sees, he isn't missing too much.
Foremost in Hitchens' firing line is what essentially boils down to the new liberal orthodoxy. To any Americans who have read or might read this book, unless you are a passionate Democrat you might well recognise the point Hitchens is making here. In all its forms, be it in its control of state-run schools, its management of state healthcare, its changes to the justice system, and many others, the politicians who have sought to change things for the better have actually changed things for the worse. In Britain, state education has noticeably collapsed in the quality of its output since the left-wing destruction of selective schools in favour of comprehensives. The National Health Service in Britain has been a monument to folly almost since it started but has become so much the religion of Britain that not even right-wingers would think of challenging its inherent absurdity - that being the misguided that health is a right, and thus free healthcare ought to be a tax-supported provision. In the liberalisation of the justice system following the calamitous abolition of the death penalty, people with good intentions have plainly shown they are willing to sacrifice ever-increasing numbers of innocent lives to criminal whims for their high moral stances. Admirable though this idealism may be, it has caused inestimable downturns in levels of popular intelligence, hopeless health provision and ever-rising levels of crime.
Particularly relevant also is Hitchens' attack upon the denigration of a proud history. Liberals of the modern age have been quick to change the teaching of history in state-run schools, to propagate notions that what the British did in the past was wrong, or that cultural and social history such as how the peasants lived is more important. That is palpably not history, and an essential problem with all well-meaning liberals in Britain today, with their pro-Europe sentiments and socialist inclinations, is they have no sense of history. History is a cycle, and it repeats itself. Attempts to deny a culture, past or present, and to deny the greatness of what it achieved in favour of a lame modern day apologeticism is a recipe for disaster.
The above are simply a few of the arenas upon which Hitchens has decided to wax literal, but throughout on many separate topics his arguments are both coherent and potent. This is a remarkable book from a remarkable mind, and its points about the inherent dangers of the modern orthodoxy and its brutal refusal to accept points of view contrary to its own are exceedingly pertinent to Great Britain and the British people. Britain is a country whose culture has been effectively torn asunder, but not under the arm of foreign invaders or occupiers but paradoxically and almost incomprehensibly by its own natives. The same is true in America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It's a terrible shame, and it is good that we have people such as Peter Hitchens to give voice to an opposition that has been too silent until now.
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
A must-read to save a great civilization from extinction, Nov. 23 2004
By Geoff Bond - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
A just review is in order - Britain's own kulturkampf Feb. 18 2001
By Charles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a historian I have often seen the argument made that the world of June 1914 was arguably a more peaceful, prosperous and gentle place than the present. Hitchens explains a great deal to lead us to answer George Orwell's question from 1984 - "I understand HOW, but not WHY.", and points out that Churchill's Britain had many virtues that are lost on members of my generation and even my parent's generation. Many other reviewers of this book have made their snippy little phrases about "Hitchens appealing to innate American right-wing attitudes", but I don't see his position as necessarily of the left or the right, though it is certainly idealogical. I think his indictment of modern British society would certainly apply to America as well, in that a generation that claimed to reject materialism in favor of a more spiritual approach has turned out to be less godly and more money grubbing than its parents ever were. I do not cling to the illusion that everyone of the "Greatest Generation" was a saint, but Hitchens is a breath of fresh air in countering the historical chauvinism of our times - that we, by virtue of our wealth and multicultural feminist beliefs are somehow morally superior to our ancestors who fought against Hitler and refused to apologize for evil Communist regimes around the world. Anyone enjoying the fruits of these triumphs of liberty ought to seriously examine Hitchens argument. It is a paean to all that was good about Britain, and suggests that patriotism in Britain (and indeed, Germany and the rest of Europe) should not left to drunken football hooligans.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Simply Excellent! Feb. 7 2004
By Matt M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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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