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The History Boys Paperback – 17 Jun 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1st edition (17 Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571224644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571224647
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

" Nothing could diminish the incendiary achievement of this subtle, deep-wrought and immensely funny play about the value and meaning of education . . . In short, a superb, life-enhancing play." -- "The Guardian"

" Brilliantly funny . . . "The History Boys" is moving, disquieting: one follows it with a heart brimful . . . His finest work in decades." -- "Financial Times"


“Nothing could diminish the incendiary achievement of this subtle, deep-wrought and immensely funny play about the value and meaning of education . . . In short, a superb, life-enhancing play.” —"The Guardian"
“Brilliantly funny . . . "The History Boys" is moving, disquieting: one follows it with a heart brimful . . . His finest work in decades.” —"Financial Times"


"Nothing could diminish the incendiary achievement of this subtle, deep-wrought and immensely funny play about the value and meaning of education . . . In short, a superb, life-enhancing play." --"The Guardian"
"Brilliantly funny . . . "The History Boys" is moving, disquieting: one follows it with a heart brimful . . . His finest work in decades." --"Financial Times"


Nothing could diminish the incendiary achievement of this subtle, deep-wrought and immensely funny play about the value and meaning of education . . . In short, a superb, life-enhancing play. "The Guardian"

Brilliantly funny . . . "The History Boys" is moving, disquieting: one follows it with a heart brimful . . . His finest work in decades. "Financial Times""

Book Description

The History Boys by Alan Bennett is a hilarious drama that follows an unruly bunch of bright, funny boys in pursuit of sex, sport and a place at university.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The latest play from Alan Bennet proves both funny, thought-proking and currently hugely successful at the NT. The characters are all beautifully created and lovable, from the confused homosexual youth Posner to the stressed, icy Headmaster, obsessed with league tables and results. The witty one liners and amusing comments,especially from Mrs Lintott, contribute to an extremely funny backdrop to a deeply serious play, where the issues of the purpose of education, homosexuality and the inevitable competition of youth are addressed and debated. The "History Boys" themselves successfully represent the thousands of hopeful Oxbridge candidates each year, all of them experiencing the highs and the lows of studying and the joy of learning, making this play a timeless jem.
The teacher Hector, whom Richard Griffiths is currently portraying with great conviction at the NT, is intellectually brilliant and extremely impressive, and yet, he is just a fallible human being with temptations and desires that finally get the better of him. This point is so tragic and powerful it evokes great sympathy from the reader and adds to the effectiveness of the play.
A thoroughly enjoyable play to light up both the stage and the mind. It is one of the rare plays that you feel you can watch time and time again, learning something new each time.
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Format: Audio CD
I saw The History Boys on their Australian tour and since it was sold out and I could not see it again I had to buy this audio version to satisfy my desire.
I'm not sure that all of the magic of the stage production is able to carry through to an audio play, but it is good listen anyway.
It is an incredibly witty piece of entertainment, thoroughly enjoyable, and reminded me so much of my own school memories of the all boys school I went to. The struggle between the two intelligent school teachers - Irwin and Hector - over the souls of the boys they teach could perhaps appear unlikely to those who missed out on having such teachers, but it reflects my experience as well. Bennett wavers (or seems to) between taking sides in their not unimportant dispute, but (or therefore?) is good enough of a writer or human being not to load the dice in the favour of one over the other.
More superficially: Samuel Barnett (my favourite) sings and acts wonderfully, all the boys are mischievously fun, and the cast is all round excellent.
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Format: Audio CD
I have seen the History Boys twice at the National Theatre, the first time with the cast that appears on this BBC CD recording. Bennett has produced a gem of a play, dark in places of course but full of light and shade especially when the ensemble cast are fully in their stride. The musical interludes are a joy and the CD version gives full rein to the superb Richard Griffiths. One can only really appreciate this play in full by experiencing the live version on stage. But for fans of Bennett, this beautifully crafted BBC radio production is one that will be taken from the CD rack on a regular basis for an evening's listening. Thoroughly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
The play is about eight sixth-form students who are applying to oxbridge, and the teachers that help them through it. As with all plays I fully recommend seeing the (excellent) production which premiered at the National Theatre in May 2004 with Richard Griffiths as Hector.
By reading the play one discovers the questions that dictate our lives and do not appear in our education system today. Questions which really make you think about the point of literature, art, education, music and history.
Just great to read, but the jokes are much more apparent on the stage.
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Format: Paperback
Set in the 1980s in a boarding school in the north of England, this Tony Award-winner for Best Play of 2006 is a dramatic comedy in which eight young "sixth-formers" prepare for the history examinations which will determine whether they are accepted at Oxford or Cambridge. No one from their school has been accepted in the past, and the headmaster is determined that this year will be different. To this end, he hires a young teacher, Irwin, to improve the students' "presentation" so that they will stand out from the crowd with the college examiners. His goal is to teach the students to think "outside the box"--not to be dull--when they answer questions.

Irwin's mission conflicts with the goals of the English and History teachers. Hector, the motor-cycle-riding English teacher, has taught the students reams of poetry, and they readily apply it in real-life situations. He has taught the French subjunctive (though it is not his subject) by conducting the class in French and having students pretend to be negotiating at a brothel. His classes are free-wheeling, often student-directed--taking the long view and valuing education for its own sake. The History teacher, Dorothy Lintott, has taught the facts: "They know their stuff. Plainly stated and properly organized facts need no presentation, surely," she remarks to the headmaster.

As the three teachers and the headmaster perform their duties, the eight students react as teenagers everywhere react, albeit a bit more politely. They banter and feed off each other's joking remarks, tease their teachers, get bopped on the head by Hector, challenge him to identify scenes from films (which they act out), and explore their favorite subject, sex.
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