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The Making of Them


At the dawn of the 21st century British society is still shaped by a private education system devised to gentrify the Victorian middle classes and produce gentlemen to run the Empire. Yet it is not on the political agenda. It is rarely the subject of public debate, and we remain blind to its psychological implications.

A remarkable new book which will be essential reading to anyone interested in the nature and culture of English, their education system, their attitude to children, and the psychological and social effects of sending their privileged sons and daughters away to boarding schools.

Select Reviews:

“A Powerful book.” – The Scientific and Medical Review.

“For anyone personally or professionally involved with this issue, this book is a worthy and valuable aid in controlling the problem, not only by analysing its psychological components but also by pointing out ways to manage them. It is well written, personally direct, and based on extensive study of the hundreds of “boarding school survivors” with whom Duffell and his collaborators have worked over some 10 years. I can highly recommend it for medical practitioners.” – Professor P Clarkson in The British Medical Journal.

“A clear-sighted, frightening book about what we might call the institutionalized child abandonment, which in England takes the form of boarding schools and in America takes other forms, among them corporate pop culture – heartbreaking, thoughtful, lively and convincing.”
– Robert Bly, poet and author of Iron John.

“Nick Duffell’s tender and ruthless analysis of the effect of boarding school life on girls and boys, both at the time and later in life, will strike many painful chords and unlock many painful memories. On almost every page one encounters a sentence, a quotation or an incident that prompts a mental, ” Oh my God, yes!” This book should be read by everyone who was sent to boarding school, above all by those who barely survived the ordeal.” – Angela Lambert, author and former ITN reporter, columnist for The Independent, & The Daily Mail.

“This book offers a unique insight into the world of children, and especially the way in which young souls – who have a right to be ‘childish’ – can be irreparably damaged by the experience of boarding school. The book is thoroughly researched, and provides fascinating perspectives on the inner landscape of childhood, largely by showing the deep connections between the emotional, sexual and spiritual development of children. By exploring how boarding can damage these connections, the author makes a unique contribution to our understanding of childhood and adolescence.” – The International Journal of Children’s Spirituality.

“This book is elegantly reasoned and passionately argued. It will serve humanity by driving a well-placed nail into the coffin of the misguided mythology of British boarding school education. Surely, with all that is now known of child and adult psychology even the upper classes must recognise the unkindness of the doctrine of “toughening them up” and the lifelong consequences of early exile from the parental, the authoritative, arbiters of one’s worth and welcome.” – Jean Liedloff, author of The Continuum Concept.

“A magnificent achievement, I will recommend it a lot” – Mark Dunn, Consultant Psychotherapist at Guy’s Hospital, London.

“If the Church of England is the Tory Party at prayer, the Public School system may be called the Tory Party in the nursery. Here are set out the traumas, deformations and truncations of character that explain the British Establishment from the appalling Doctor Arnold to the Thatcher Matronocracy. The British are known to be mad. But in the maiming of their privileged young, they are criminally insane.” – John le Carré, best selling author, and former MI6 member.

“This book offers profound psychological and social keys to understanding the mysterious British character, and the enduring attitudes towards children which so often puzzles foreigners and natives alike. Using references from the popular media, from literature, from history and from psychology, Nick Duffell skilfully unravels a web in a way which moves and fascinates the reader. His plain-language explanations of psychological phenomena such as ‘splitting’ and ‘projection’ will be useful to all students of human nature, whether they are interested in boarding education or not.” – Reinhard Kowalski, Consultant Clinical Psychologist in the National Health Service, author of Over the Top, Discovering Your Self, and The Only Way Out is In.

Publication Details:

Published: 1 April, 2000
Book Type: Book
Book Format: Book
ISBN 10: 0953790401
ISBN 13: 978-0953790401

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