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Public Schools and the Second World War (Hardback)

WWII Social History Military

By Sir Anthony Seldon, David Walsh
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 352
ISBN: 9781526750396
Published: 7th August 2020
This Week's Best Sellers Rank: #7

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Following their ground-breaking book on Public Schools and the Great War, David Walsh and Anthony Seldon now examine how those same schools fared in the Second World War. They use eye-witness testimony to recount stories of resilience and improvisation in 1940 as the likelihood of invasion and the terrors of the Blitz threatened the very survival of public schools, and they assess the giant impact that public school alumni contributed to every aspect of the war effort.

The authors examine how the ‘People’s War’ brought social cohesion, with the opportunity to end public school exclusiveness to the fore, encouraged by Winston Churchill among others. That opportunity was ironically squandered by the otherwise radical Clement Attlee’s post-war Labour government, prolonging the ‘public school problem’ right through to the present day.

The public schools shaped twentieth century history profoundly, never more so than in the conduct of both its world wars. The impact of the schools on both wars was very different, as were the legacies. This book is full of profound historical reflection and is essential reading for all who want to understand the history of modern Britain.

This fascinating book draws widely on primary source material and personal accounts of inspiring courage and endurance.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This follows about public schools during world war 2 and about world war 2 itself as well as the changing of social and political landscapes during this time. this shows about the study in how public schools shaped the way the war was told and interpreted culturally and how they responded to victory in 1945!

5 stars a real enjoyable read as i love history!!

NetGalley, Shannon Wadlan
Sir Anthony Seldon

About Sir Anthony Seldon

Sir Anthony Seldon is Vice Chancellor of Buckingham University having previously been the inspirational Master of Wellington College and Headmaster of Brighton College. He has written or edited over 35 books including the standard works on Prime Ministers Major, Blair and Brown. He is the authorised historian to 10 Downing Street. He was knighted in 2014. His wife Joanna died of cancer in 2016.


About David Walsh

David Walsh is former Deputy Head of Tonbridge School and has taught in Australia. He co-authored Public Schools and The Great War (Pen and Sword Military 2013) with Anthony Seldon.


He leads battlefield tours. He is married and lives at Oxted, Surrey.

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Public Schools and The Great War (Hardback)

In this pioneering and original book, Anthony Seldon and David Walsh study the impact that the public schools had on the conduct of the Great War, and vice versa. Drawing on fresh evidence from 200 leading public schools and other archives, they challenge the conventional wisdom that it was the public school ethos that caused needless suffering on the Western Front and elsewhere. They distinguish between the younger front-line officers with recent school experience and the older 'top brass' whose mental outlook was shaped more by military background than by memories of school. The Authors argue…

By Sir Anthony Seldon, David Walsh

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