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Public Schools and the Second World War (ePub)

WWII Social History Military

By Sir Anthony Seldon, David Walsh
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 3.2 MB (.epub)
ISBN: 9781526750402
eBook Released: 29th July 2020

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£9.98 Print price £25.00

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In the press

As featured in The Telegraph, September 2020: 'Why we must not overlook the role of public schools in the Second World War.'

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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.

This actually a very good book, well written and full of excellent detail. The book is further improved by having a very good bibliography, notes and reference section. So in conclusion this is a very good social history book and will go down well with a lot of readers.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Read the full review here

UK Historian

A new book argues that far from being a 'People's War' Britain's role in the Second World War was dominated by public schoolboys

The Telegraph 27/09/20

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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