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5.0 out of 5 stars A realistic slice of life portrait of prep school life.
Ruhlman brings the complexities of prep school to life in a manner in which few writers have accomplished. I both attended and have worked within some of the country's most notable prep schools. After my first year as an Upper School Head, I sat down one day and read the book cover to cover. Ruhlman's protrait of the teachers and students is fascinating. He takes...
Published on 5 April 1999

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2.0 out of 5 stars The book does not make a strong case for boys' schools.
I am a University School alumnus and attended the school when many of the people described in this book (including Richard Hawley) were there. Ruhlman has definitely caputured the ethos of the place. I question, though, whether the portrait makes a compelling case for boys' schools. In reading the book, I was reminded of undercurrents of intolerance and "group...
Published on 10 Aug. 1999


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5.0 out of 5 stars A realistic slice of life portrait of prep school life., 5 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Boys Themselves: A Return to Single-Sex Education (Paperback)
Ruhlman brings the complexities of prep school to life in a manner in which few writers have accomplished. I both attended and have worked within some of the country's most notable prep schools. After my first year as an Upper School Head, I sat down one day and read the book cover to cover. Ruhlman's protrait of the teachers and students is fascinating. He takes the time to develop characters, especailly the indefteabable head of school, Richard Hawley. Ruhlman goes beyond just reporting what he sees. He engages himself and others in a dialgue that constantly questions the ethos of the school. In one interesting scence, he describes how a senior speech got out of control. Ruhlman gives us the fallout from this display of "entitlement disorder" from all the angles; students, teachers and administrators. Ruhlman also takes the time to venture into the debate over single-sex education. He handles this challenge with grace. However, for me this book was more like an ethnography of a school. Ruhlman provides the reader with a fascinating behind the scences account of a most interesting school. The appeal of this book should be wider than prep school audieance. However, if you are interested in independent school education this is a must read. Bravo to Ruhlman for doing justice to such a complex subject.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The book does not make a strong case for boys' schools., 10 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Boys Themselves: A Return to Single-Sex Education (Paperback)
I am a University School alumnus and attended the school when many of the people described in this book (including Richard Hawley) were there. Ruhlman has definitely caputured the ethos of the place. I question, though, whether the portrait makes a compelling case for boys' schools. In reading the book, I was reminded of undercurrents of intolerance and "group thinking" that may be part of all adolescents but which seem particularly pronounced when boys are amongst themselves. The book also reminded me of how a provincial, almost smug muscular Episcopalianism is the school's unofficial culture (the school is theoretically non-sectarian). While these negatives came out, there was nothing presented that suggested anything positive about an all-male environment. We are given a case study with little analysis of the importance of the all male culture. As a result, one sees the merits of prep-school, i.e. resources, small classes and attentive faculty, but is left with no sense of why being all male is relevant. And one does see some demerits of not having a coed school.
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Boys Themselves: A Return to Single-Sex Education
Boys Themselves: A Return to Single-Sex Education by Michael Ruhlman (Paperback - Sept. 1997)
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