Sad Little Men
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‘The most important book I’ve read this year’ Adam Rutherford, author of Control
In 1975, as a child, Richard Beard was sent away from his home to sleep in a dormitory. So were Boris Johnson and David Cameron.
In those days a private boys’ boarding school education was largely the same experience as it had been for generations: a training for the challenges of Empire. He didn’t enjoy it. But the first and most important lesson was to not let that show.
Being separated from the people who love you is traumatic. How did that feel at the time, and what sort of adult does it mould?
This is a story about England, and a portrait of a type of boy, trained to lead, who becomes a certain type of man. As clearly as an X-ray, it reveals the make-up of those who seek power – what makes them tick, and why.
Sad Little Men addresses debates about privilege head-on; clearly and unforgettably, it shows the problem with putting a succession of men from boarding schools into positions of influence, including 10 Downing Street.
Now, with our government in crisis, it’s time to ask if these are really the kind of men we want in charge?
‘Insanely readable and enjoyable’ Tom Holland, author of Dominion
‘Well written… everyone…should pick it up’, TLS, Books of the Year
A sensitive and incisive analysis of the British class system has no right to be as insanely readable and enjoyable as this book manages to be * Tom Holland, author of Dominion * Engaging and readable, powerful and cogent. A vivid portrait of the political elite exposed for the vulnerable men/ children they are * Joy Schaverien, author of Boarding School Syndrome * If you want to understand the aura of entitlement and untouchability shrouding our governing class, look no further than Beard's witty, unsparingly sharp and deeply moving anatomy of the emotional culture of England's boarding schools * Josh Cohen * Utterly compelling, top proper stuff. I loved it to bits. The energy of it! I really felt for them (all) by the end * Ian Marchant, Author of A Hero for High Times * A breathtaking personal account of the disastrous British habit of abandoning our most privileged children to institutionalisation. Beard captures all the nuances and subtleties of how the process undermines the boarder and its lasting legacy through into late adulthood. Should be compulsory reading for parents considering what is still thought to be the best choice for their offspring, while it perverts our leadership at home and abroad * Nick Duffell, author of The Making of Them *
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