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The Abolition of Britain

From Winston Churchill to Princess Diana
Narrated by: Peter Hitchens
Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
Categories: History, European
4.5 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

Non-member price: $34.76

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Publisher's Summary

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 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.

©2008 Peter Hitchens (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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Fabulously Grumpy

Right on the mark, and satisfyingly blunt. Very funny at times too, so a real joy.

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Well, if objectionably argued.

Hitchens is eloquent and persuasive. It’s why I’m interested in what he has to say. He does not, however reflect my (or most probably the ‘average’ person’s views). From his one time alignment to the radical left he now seems to my ears to side with the most reactionary conservatism he probably would have once despised himself.

Yet opinions change. His has, he’s admitted it - and he’s entitled to do it. One of the benefits of living in a free society is the Socratic method, the dialectical. Put simply, its good to hear the other sides’ views. As Peter’s erudite brother once put it, even if you disagree with the other side in an argument, if both parties leave subtly and perhaps imperceptibly changed - if it is a good one.

One of the reasons this book is persuasive is it’s rootedness in political, cultural and literary history. Hitchens has the vantage when arguing from these points as he is not only well read and articulate, but his grasp of these traditions is almost certainly better than those he decries.

But decries he does, and you better get used to it if you’re settling in for this one. The ideological left wing canon of speech and thought so readily accepted in daily discourse is attacked, at length. Everything from accepting LBQT communities, support for the drug addicted, the liberation of sexuality and egalitarianism is torn down in this book as Hitchens asserts himself as a bastion of quite conservative Christian morality.

One of this things that most puzzles me here is his repeatedly asserted acceptance of a class structure, monarchy and aristocracy. Hitchens seems to believe in a way that surely must confound his younger self that these things are inherently good, and should command respect. Not so. He concludes with a panegyric to the democratic tradition of England. Yet surely these archaic institutions are the opposite of that, institutions that demand deference without the slightest requirement for competence. And one we are supposed to accept merely because they are our ‘betters?’ Unconvincing.

One thing I would love to ask him is how much he feels has changed is he wrote this book. The book seems to fear the United Kingdom falling into the European super state all the more - a reality which looks less and less likely (although is still arguable in all but name). He also predicts the permanent end of Tory rule, another failed prophecy although I suspect he would not labels the current incarnation of the conservatives as ‘true’ conservatives anyway.

A final word is about his performance. Stellar. His articulation, diction and expressivity are all first rate. You can hear his sneers leaping into your ears. It is a wonderful listen.

In conclusion, I doubt you will agree with him - I certainly didn’t - but it is still a worthy addition to your audible library. I would love to hear his opinions on what is next for the country. He may be wrong, but chances are good that we will learn something from it.

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  • David Jones
  • 21-02-2015

Though much is taken, much abides;

This is Peter Hitchens' first book, in which he sets out the framework of his Burkean, Anglican & Conservative view of Britain. It takes the form of a lamentation for the peculiarly English civilisation that spanned the 18th & 19th centuries, and documents the extent to which it was demolished in the 20th. The funerals of Winston Churchill & Diana Spencer are used to bracket the period in which the destruction was most rapid.

There is not a cheerful book, it is clearly not meant to be a balanced account of the postwar period. However, cynicism is tempered with dry wit and it made me laugh in a number of places.

The book seems at least as relevant now as it was when first published. The last chapter deals with the serious possibility of Britain being dissolved into a federation of European states.

Few good writers are also accomplished speakers, let alone feel as passionately about their subject as Peter clearly does. This audio book benefits greatly from being narrated by the author.

14 people found this helpful

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  • steve_noble
  • 01-09-2019

dreadful, reactionary claptrap

A lengthy and nauseating list of opinions (mostly grievances) and conclusions purportedly supported by historical fact.

The number of positive reviews tells a depressing story of non-discerning readers eager to embrace Rule Britannia nostalgia for an idealised past.

Anyone can sign on for a Grumble & Moan Fest, which aptly describes this book. But if one really wants to attempt understanding the evolution of today’s predicaments, one should be reading Winston Churchill, George Orwell, Dominic Sandbrook and Owen Jones - and not the heaps of easy-read populist tripe to which this work belongs.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-12-2018

Very Depressing

Wow, this is depressing. However, It seems to be correct.

I don't like how Peter doesn't have a solution, however. I suppose it makes sense as it's a real Gordian knot of a problem.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Austin
  • 11-01-2015

what can i say ?

i am sympathetic to a lot of Peter Hitchens views, i share his faith am uneasy about the path my country has followed in my life time and i think he makes many valid points.
i would warn anybody not to just dismiss him out of hand..
that said however it sometimes felt like one long grumble by a grumpy bloke...
well it is a grumble !
i would recommend also trying to listen to somebody with an apposing view. maybe trawl the internet to catch Peter in debate?

9 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 16-08-2018

Could barely get half way through

Always been a fan of Peter Hitchens and very much agreed with nearly every column he has wrote in a newspaper and every opinion he has every voiced on television but didn't really enjoy this. Was basically hours upon hours of him ranting complaining about how literally everything imaginable has changed for the worse without even touching upon how we have seen various diseases all but eradicated and running water and broadband extended to every corner of this nation.

4 people found this helpful

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  • The Lost Clansman
  • 20-12-2017

A must read (listen)!

Patriot or otherwise, you may not agree with all of the content. However, it is important to understand that every action has it's consequences, good and bad. Prior to implementing changes in social fabric, institutions and/or values, the outcomes need to be assessed over the longer term and should never be guided by the fashion of the time. This is difficult, if at all possible and change can happen subconsciously for many. And as with any large collective process, once a course has been set, it's difficult or near impossible to change it. Is it too late to revert some of the changes? Probably.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-06-2016

A rushed reading

Whilst Peter Hitchins has a good voice his narrative was rushed in parts and difficult to follow.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. P. S. Brown
  • 12-07-2016

Seductive but flawed

Hearing such a compelling writer make such a relentless case for conservatism is a seductive thing - Hitchens is one of the great crafters of sentences. However, it is important to remember where the holes in his arguments are. He often fails to acknowledge that social change doesn't come from nihilism or a perceived unfairness but from a very real inequality and the natural human desire to redress that.

6 people found this helpful

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  • OatWood
  • 03-10-2018

He speaks the truth

Having the work read by its author is always a bonus. This does not disappoint.

In his inimitable fashion, Hitchens expresses what the silent majority (which includes even those in Westminster) are all thinking but afraid to say out loud.

Great Britain has changed rapidly even in my 50 years. Read this and know the truth about how and more importantly, why this has taken place.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Crotcheteer
  • 22-09-2018

Very interesting book - dreadful narration

I am always interested to know what Peter Hitchins has to say but this was read at a breathless fast pace seriously spoiling the enjoyment of the book.

3 people found this helpful