Saturday, October 6, 2007

Book Review: Swinesend, Britain's Greatest Public School

Billed as the indespensable handbook to one of Britain's premier boarding schools, this is a very amusing parody of the public school system in the United Kingdom. For those who have experienced this system first-hand this fiction may be almost too close to the truth for comfort with its absurb rules, sadistic teachers and legitimised bullying.

An interesting school history explains the origins of traditions such as "steg burning" and toasting the "simpletons" as well as how the school reached its reputation as one of the most brutual institutions in the country.

Punctuated with amusing flow charts that mimic the incomprehensibility of their in scholl counterparts prospective students are introduced to many of Swinesend's attractions including world class cage fighting facilities, membership of the Self-Abuse club and the "Hackers" team.

Over 160 pages of satirical information provide plenty of laughs for the reader and the style of the book, which is split into various topic-related sections, makes this publication readable from front to back or in short, laughter filled, snippets.

For anyone who has ever been to a boarding or fee-paying school this is a must read and it could easily reach legendary status amongst both staff and students of such institutions. For those who have been fortunate enough to avoid an education in such a "character building" institution this book reinforces all the stereotypes of such a school and creates some new ones of its own.

Score: 7.5/10

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