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Wounded Leaders: British Elitism and the Entitlement Illusion - A Psychohistory Paperback – 10 May 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Lone Arrow Press (10 May 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 0953790436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0953790432
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Carrie on 30 Jun 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'The top-down nature of British society means that all strata are obliged to imitate the behaviour of the elite, even without knowing it.' This peculiarly British elite, severed from normal family life at an early age, know that first and foremost, they have to look after number one. As institutionalised children they have learned a harsh lesson - their survival depends on ruthless repression of feeling. When in power - and everywhere in the British establishment, they are in power again - this elite will look after its own and rationalise the effect on the rest of us. Deprivation - it's good for you! The public school set are back where they were in the nineteenth century - on top. Nick Duffell's book exposes the effect of an emotionally deprived background, not on the functionaries of Empire and the suppressed natives, but on the politicians leading Britain today.

If we were really living in Downton Abbey, the majority of us would be working below stairs and the entertaining story is that the privileged lot above, have our best interests at heart. This book is a wake-up call from a cultural trance. Nick Duffell recognises that the practice of sending young children away, to be brought up in an institution, still prevails among the British upper classes - but he radically questions the effect on character development. Read it and ask yourself whether boyish public school charm, masking social indifference to the underdog, or at its worst, social brutality, is what Britain really needs in the 21st century, in her leaders.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Miss Pauline M Webb on 14 Aug 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
a marvellous book which I keep on reading a telling other people about. Duffell's central idea, that boarding schools are really bad for you is not only a revelation about the government, but the whole of the establishment, the Armed forces, and pother establishment organisation. Ian Duncan Sith comes to mind as a man who lives in a complete fantasy world, which bears no relation to what is going on in the real world, causeng suffering to thousands, while feeling totally complacent that he is doing a good job. My interest at the moment is the development of the Catholic church which has also, across the centuries, sent young boys to seminaries at a very early age and kept them in seclusion without the support and love of their families. as Duffell remarks the whole thing is made more hideous by the terror of homosexuality which bans all close friendships in these institutions. .As many theologians in history have had a similar formation in seminaries and monasteries, the doctrinal separation between intellectual beliefs and feelings has caused a deluge of dualism in the Church's teaching for centuries. The Church of England has had similar problems, as historically most of their bishops went to the famous boarding schools and university colleges.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By arran knight on 28 July 2014
Format: Paperback
I loved this book...It’s cross-referencing was very clever, relevant and unique. What a fabulously educated and soaringly intellectual writer Nick Duffell is, and how marvelously grounded and heartfelt his commitment to everyday human beings seems to be. What a thing to have done with a privileged education!
This book made me want to change course and run for prime minister! Or, more realistically, get involved in some small way to help generate a healthy change in our society that seems long overdue. It gave me hope whilst reading it and an understanding of things I notice but am unable to put words to.
Get this book on the shelves of every school library across the country and beyond, in every middle/upper/working class parents collection, in the hope that our young and their parents can learn from our past and help shape a future that is bright for both the victims and perpetrators of our country’s inequalities.
As I get back to the reality of a tube journey with my Ipod, headlines of Jeremy Clarkson’s latest racial slurs, who the latest MP is to have been found out on something and an opposition leader in Ed Milliband, I think back to the depth of feeling, sensitivity, intelligence and common sense in these pages, and know that we have it in us to do better!
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Format: Paperback
This book is a well written and well research thesis about how the British system of elite boarding school education not only produces our future political and business leaders, but also produces psychologically damaged men. The narrative combines the personal experiences of the author with decades of academically grounded research and practice as a psychotherapist. In his previous groundbreaking book, The Making of Them, the author described the impact of boarding on child development. What this book does brilliantly is to link the personal psychological view of character development based on boarding experiences, with the larger political and cultural context. It is a psychohistory, exploring the psychological motives and dynamics of political and historical events.

The central thesis of the book is that children as young as seven years old are sent away and raised in institutions. These 'privileged' children must learn to adapt to survive both the loss of a family home and the demands of boarding school culture. Our prime minister and many other leaders were among them. The psychological impact of these formative experiences on boys who grow up to occupy positions of great power and responsibility can hardly be understated. It leaves these men ill prepared for real life and relationships in the adult world. It also leaves this nation with a cadre of leaders who perpetuate a culture of elitism, bullying and misogyny that affects the whole of society.

This is not to say that all boarding school educated adults are dysfunctional. Many people who have experienced trauma in childhood find ways of coming to terms with it.
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