BOOK REVIEW: Public Schools and the Great War

The Westmorland Gazette: Public Schools and the Great War Public Schools and the Great War

PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND THE GREAT WAR by Anthony Sheldon and David Walsh, £25 ISBN 978-1-781593080

NEXT year is the centenary of the start of the Great War, which has undoubtedly prompted the timing of this fascinating and disturbing account of young affluent men lost in a terrible and ultimately futile conflict.

Some of the most startling statistics are to be found at the end of the book, where the numbers of dead from each individual school are listed.

Of Sedbergh School’s 1,260 ex-pupils who served, for example, 251 - almost 20 per cent - were killed.

It was nearly as bad at Giggleswick, where nearly 17 per cent of ex-pupils, 122 in total, died.

This book explores fresh ground in the story, drawing on new evidence from 200 leading public schools and other archives.

In particular, it calls into question the claim that the public school ethos caused needless suffering during the Great War.

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