The author sets in context the changes that have overtaken Britain in a forty-year period. He debates the issues he believes should concern us all, challenges our changing social and moral values and questions the direction society is taking. Is this where we would choose to be? If not what are we going to do about it?
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John Humphrys has been a journalist since he left school at the age of 15. He is now one of the most respected broadcasters of his generation and his interviews on Radio Four's Today programme are regarded by some as compulsive and compulsory listening. In his debut book, Devil's Advocate, he draws on 40 years of experience to look at the changes that have been happening in Britain and possible future scenarios. The first section of the book is devoted to what he calls "the shoulder-shrugging society" and he doesn't paint a very pretty picture. He argues that the British have lost the concept of shame--an excuse is always found if someone does something wrong; children are losing their innocence at an earlier age; people increasingly think of themselves as victims; they are terribly sentimental, confusing genuine caring with wearing a ribbon and feeling good is the goal of modern life. So what is to blame for this appalling malaise? Humphrys believes it's "consumer populism"--everything being judged according to its commercial value. The situation is exacerbated by the media, which is also under commercial pressure, and becoming increasingly trivial in a bid to chase the ratings. He doesn't offer any quick-fix solutions to the problems, but encourages readers to dissent and keep questioning the accepted wisdom. This book is very strongly argued and there is plenty to agree and disagree with. It achieves exactly what Humphrys is famous for--stimulating debate. -- Carina TriminghamReview:
"Persuasive--marvelously observed--full of intellectual daring" - "Mail on Sunday
"Peerless reporting--sharp and instructive--wonderfully acidic about people when he thinks they deserve it." - "Observer
"Playing devil's advocate is the function he performs better than anyone else anywhere--an excellent and amusing read." - "New Statesman
"From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Book Description Hutchinson, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 009180048X