New book “Spoilt Rotten” now available for purchase

Several people have asked about or mentioned Dalrymple’s new book Spoilt Rotten. I don’t have a copy yet myself, so I can’t say much about it. I have heard from its publisher, Gibson Square Books, and it appears the book is now available but only in the UK. I ordered a copy via (the American site) through a reseller. Commenter Rachel says here that she bought it from Amazon UK and had it shipped to Israel, so you should be able to get it that way as well.

When the book first appeared on Amazon UK a few weeks ago, its subtitle was “How Britain is Ruined by Its Children”, but it has changed to “The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality”, suggesting that the book makes a wider argument about society as a whole and not just the unique problems caused by modern child-rearing. I know that two years ago Dalrymple was working on a book on sentimentality, so it appears this is that book.

Some people hate the cover, but I find it hilarious.

28 thoughts on “New book “Spoilt Rotten” now available for purchase

  1. Michael W. Perry

    Here’s the book’s description from The Book Depository:

    “In this perceptive and witty book, Theodore Dalrymple unmasks the hidden sentimentality that is suffocating public life. Under the multiple guises of raising children well, caring for the underprivileged, assisting the less able and doing good generally, we are achieving quite the opposite-for the single purpose of feeling good about ourselves. Dalrymple takes the reader on both an entertaining and at times shocking journey through social, political, popular and literary issues as diverse as child tantrums, aggression, educational reform, honour killings, sexual abuse, Che Guevara, Eric Segal, Romeo and Juliet, the McCanns, public emotions and the role of suffering, and shows the perverse results when we abandon logic in favour of the cult of feeling. Drawing on his long experience of working with thousands of criminals and the mentally disturbed, Dalrymple proves that we can only hope to make a difference – if we start with thinking well.”

  2. Anonymous

    For the past few weeks I have been engrossed by much of Dalrymple’s writings which I have been able to find online. If I were to venture out and buy one of his books, do any of you recommend a particular one?

  3. Rachel

    If you could only buy one, I would strongly recommend “Life At The Bottom”. That is the best of his books in my opinion and is what first got me hooked on his writings.
    But maybe others here have a different opinion?

  4. Jonathan Levy

    I absolutely agree. “Life at the Bottom” is the place to start.

    Rachel, if I may ask – how long did it take the book to arrive? I’m thinking of placing an order myself.

  5. Darius

    I agree with Rachel and Jonathan, Life at the Bottom is the ONLY place to start. After that, try either Our Culture, What’s Left of It or In Praise of Prejudice.

  6. Clinton

    I agree with the others. Start with “Life At The Bottom” and then “Our Culture, What’s Left Of It”. LATB is brilliantly, beautifully written, and focuses on his work in the British slums. OCWLOI is much more wide-ranging and includes essays on a number of fascinating topics. It also includes what I think is his best essay: “When Islam Breaks Down”.

  7. Gavin


    I ordered Spoilt Rotten just the other day from Amazon and it has arrived already. I hadn’t thought much about the cover but now it is mentioned I don’t especially like it. However I dare say TD has no influence over this and I only care about the wise words inside.

    I would like to also recommend OCWLOI and the often funny (but shocking) “Second Opinion”. I have also read his tract “The New Vichy Syndrome” which was interesting, and the many online articles referenced by this fine site.

    I believe TD (whom I have had the honour of meeting) is near, if not, genius and should be appointed immediately into a commanding role in the British government!

  8. Gavin

    Having made good progress through this book now I think it is (predictably) excellent. He’s on top form – I think it’s better than The New Vichy Syndrome. Sadly, he is let down by a few typos here and there (particularly in the former work, actually) but that of course does not have any bearing on the quality of his analysis and prose..

  9. Iphigenia

    I disagree; for a man as experienced and knowledgeable as Dalrymple can, I daresay, contribute greatly to society in a governmental position (any position in the Cabinet) which would use his prodigious talents well. I wish that he could have governmental power for he is precisely what this country needs in order to bring it back from the brink of self-destruction. Also, a king in this day and age has nothing but symbolic power, sadly.

  10. Erin

    Thanks for the heads up. I’d pre ordered ‘Anything goes” but hadn’t known of this book. It should be here by Tuesday, just finished his Europe and the new Vichy syndrome, great book, very well written, nice style. Any chance this fella will come speak in Ireland anytime soon?

  11. Flossie

    I ordered from the Book Depository via and it arrived in a week. I paid just over $19; shipping was free. I think the cover is perfect – “I’ll thrcream and thrcream and thrcream…”

  12. Gavin

    What about what Eileen Pollock said here about it, Flossie?

    “The marketing director who is responsible for the misbegotten title and ghastly cover picture of this book has much to answer for. Both title and cover have nothing to do with the book’s content. The lettering of the title is a typographer’s nightmare, each letter individually printed on a card and “pasted” like a ransom note.”

    I had to agree with all that. The image also looks crudely Photoshopped to me. Anyway, each to their own!

    I am thinking it’s a shame how Dalrymple is being let down by proof-readers though, when his words are so wise.

  13. Gavin

    I have just finished reading all of Spolit Rotten, except the notes at the end (which I will of course read in due course).

    It is a brilliant onslaught against the popular dishonest tendency to feel warm and fluffy about something rather than actually thinking properly and understanding the topic.

    TD discusses a lot, including the wave of sentimentality for Princess Diana and Madeleine McCann, the cult of the victim, and multiculturalism.

    There is of course much to consider. As far as isolated observations go:

    When discussing the point of “family impact statements”, it seemed to me TD omitted to mention the possibility that they are intended to impress upon would-be criminals the extended human damage their actions can inflict (what few, admittedly, might care).

    Also when discussing the cult of the victim, while he deals with completely fabricated fantasies, I thought he could have pointed out that many people these days wish to claim victim status for things that didn’t even happen to them, but only (possibly) to their ancestors.

    Were we to try to claim credit for the achievements of our ancestors, incidentally, none should be given either. For example: “We won the war!” No we didn’t. Our ancestors did, admirably, and it is doubtful whether we would manage the same today. “We” didn’t win the football match for that matter, either – they did, running about on the field.

    When I mention such people, I am thinking, I might as well say (because this reluctance to speak out loud is part of the problem) of Jews who might continue to claim victim status because of the Holocaust and of European Africans who are only too happy to pull out the slave trade card when seeking enhanced victim status. This, despite the fact that individuals from neither group suffered themselves in the said events.

    Some might argue that, given the cult of the victim, they have even benefitted from them, though I have probably gone far enough here for this occasion: we are all conditioned by a bullying societal sentimentalism to find some arguments (and those who advance them) repellant, no matter how persuasive the facts might be – and this is something TD addresses in the book too.

    TD deals with the slave trade, actually, exposing many associated myths. I was also interested to see him attend to multiculturalism with great clarity and accuracy in the last pages of the book. This renewed my confidence somewhat given some of his writing about Islam elsewhere. Some of his comments reminded me of some by Mark Steyn (another attacker of sentimentalism), and I think he quoted him in the book.

    Finally, I should mention that near the beginning of the book TD attacks Steven Pinker’s liberal and relativistic stance on linguistics, which was a pleasure to read.

    Spoilt Rotten is TD on top form, really, and is an enjoyable – and important – read, as usual.

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