ALEX RENTON ON STIFF UPPER LIP: SECRETS, CRIMES AND THE SCHOOLING OF A RULING CLASS

Alex Renton’s Stiff Upper Lip: secrets, crimes and the schooling of a ruling class is the first book to look at the darker side of the British private boarding school system. This unique mechanism for educating an elite has been admired and copied across the world. Yet – as anyone who went through it – knows, the schools could warp and damage the adults they produced in ways that lasted for life. Violence and cruelty were endemic – but were they in fact a a necessary part of the medicine?

When Renton’s book was published in April this year the Times’s critic said she needed a very hot shower after finishing it. The Financial Times said it was “a horrible read”. Others were more welcoming.

‘Shocking, gripping and sobering’ Rupert Christiansen, The Sunday Telegraph

‘A great depth of reading and thinking here, and the whole thing thrums, right at the back of it, with a contagious sadness; a contagious anger; a contagious grief… A brave and necessary book.’ Sam Leith, The Guardian

“At last, a scrupulously honest insight into private boarding education in Britain – ranging from the abuse to which it subjects the child, and the family, to the abuse of Britain’s social order in laying the foundation to buying your child’s way to the top” Jon Snow of Channel 4 News

Chairman  – Savilian David Oldroyd-Bolt