Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality, By Theodore Dalrymple

What sentimental fools we are

In this extended rant against the "toxic cult of sentimentality", Theodore Dalrymple finds fault with our society's romanticised view of childhood, modern educational theory, demands for public displays of emotion, overseas aid and the assumed moral superiority of victims, and also lays bare the connections between sentimentality and brutality.

There is some good sense here, but it's vitiated by the pompous, peevish tone, the futile nostalgia for an airbrushed past, unnecessary sideswipes (at John Rawls, for example, or climate science) and by the poor editing (proof-reading errors abound and there is much repetition). Material for an excellent Spectator article has been stretched out to 256 pages.