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The Fourth of June by [Benedictus, David]
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The Fourth of June Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Length: 190 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 688 KB
  • Print Length: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Valancourt Books (28 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D38NQN4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #411,373 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

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Format: Paperback
It's hard to imagine the society in which this was published. If you wanted a radical view of public schools, 'Goodbye Mr Chips' was about as far as it went. They were the unquestioned bastions of excellence in education, fostering world leaders, captains of business, culture and the media. Of all public schools, Eton was the very acme of empire and establishment. And in the days before Anderson's 'If', Beyond the Fringe and Monty Python, the words' 'empire and establishment' could be said without irony.
This book changed that and was one of many small shifts in direction that made the Sixties swing and built modern Britain.
A brilliant debut from a young novelist who went on to produce many other notable, but largely under-appreciated, books, The Fourth of June exploded the myth of power associated with public schools and with Eton in particular, a world where institutionalised bullying and privilege is assumed to create character, loyalty and integrity. It is a very human tale, touching and unsensational, but scalpel-sharp in its writing and satire.
Although it is something of a period piece, its re-release is incredibly timely. Once again, Old Etonians hold the highest positions in government and Michael Gove's policies hail a return to the educational values of the 1950s - values that this book does much to discredit.
This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how both culture and education got to where they are today - and where they might go if left unchecked.
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Format: Hardcover
This novel, published in 1962, caused a great deal of controversy at the time. It exposed the internal workings of the British public school system: the snobbery, the fagging, the bullying, the incipient homosexuality, the beatings, and the conferment of power upon boys over other boys. The fact that most city men, academics, industrialists, politicians, churchmen, and members of every profession of the time went through some or other variant of the public school system leads one to think that the novel might have been one of the instruments that began the breakdown of some of these traditions. That these traditions continue to produce the nation's professional leaders, to a certain extent at least, has one quaking in one's boots for the future.

More than just a rocket up the arse of the establishment, however, this novel is comic as well as witty and the balance between the author's stripping away of the pretences surrounding public school practices and his sense of humour is finely preserved. It is a subtle book for all it is also revelatory, for one comes to feel some sympathy with the boys - some of those who perpetuate the system unthinkingly are not culpable, or not necessarily so. Perhaps the viciousness of the public school system and its reliance on tradition and privilege was merely a symptom of the inflated egos of an establishment that has since disappeared? I very much doubt that the snobbery has abated much, however, because above all of the faults here depicted, this seems to me to be both the most pernicious and prevailing.

The novel is beautifully written with a fine eye for comic circumstances and a delicate ear for what passes for wit and sarcasm among public schoolboys. Characters are very well established and even the comic ones are believable. There is some excellent writing, particularly the set-piece of the climax of the fourth of June celebrations.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Benedictus was obviously a schoolboy at Eton. I do not think he liked the college much, and one beak I know did not like Mr Benedictus very miuch either, but the book is superb.
Jeremy Taylor.
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