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Books in brief: Stiff Upper Lip by Alex Renton

Therapists have identified a “boarding school syndrome”

By Ian Irvine   June 2017

Stiff Upper Lip: Secrets, Crimes and the Schooling of a Ruling Class by Alex Renton (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £16.99)

This is a fascinating book, though at times one which is hard to read. Few other societies share our ruling class’s tradition of sending their children away to school at the age of eight (or earlier), but the prestige of the British Empire, whose leaders it created, brought it wide admiration. At the end of his life William Gladstone, an Old Etonian, observed that “the public school system is the greatest thing in England,…

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