This is a very important book as is ND's desire to see survivors recover as depicted on his website. As he wrote it there was very little literature on the subject. However as someone who clearly failed to cope both as a colonial misfit and a boarding school receiver of multiple physical, emotional and sexual abuse over several years, I can confirm the dire times allowed and hallowed by many. One critic has suggested that troubled survivors are somehow pathetic. He or she is most likely to have been on top of the pile of manure and found it suited him. However my only criticism of the book is that it has been a platform for ND's fierce antiestablishment ideology. Salty that detracts from the power of the message.
This is very helpful to understand often confusing and distressful behaviour from both work and personal peers who have attended public boarding schools. It exposes how little we value compassion, empathy and understanding, being seen as weaknesses which need to be stamped out of the human being. It seems if you endure this treatment, you are at risk of doing the same to others. It also explains that the initiation of boys into men has been completely misunderstood and perhaps lost - the truth is that the stronger your heart and personal emotional mastery is, the better leader you are both in family and corporate environments. Mind and heart coherence from a physiological point of view is proven to be much more effective in building successful relations. But the boarding school way described in the book, seems to damage the humanity, the heart in these pupils to appalling lengths, and then you wonder why there is difficulty relating in a more humane way professionally or personally. The risk is that a person brought up this way has a very strong and powerful part of their personal human system cut off from themselves. Thank you for lifting the lid on this and letting out the truth of what this kind of education can do to children, and how it follows them throughout their adult lives.
As a boarding school survivor myself, who has spent many years of my life having to deal with the psycho-emotional consequences. this book was very helpful, insightful, affirming, and revealing. The author is involved with a survivors' network and I would recommend this book to anyone who has been to, or knew someone close to them who went to, or is thinking of sending their children to, boarding school.
I was already well aware of many of the issues around boarding at a young age. Nevertheless I had some fascinating insights into a problem that I myself share directly with thousands of others, and which has consequences for the entire country Somebody needs to write a book about the effects of boarding on girls - I suspect the problems are subtly different. That is not a criticism of Nick Duffell's book, just a job for someone else one day.
Having been through the system, against my will, I can empathise with many of the observations and say "yes that's just how I felt" or "I now understand, a little, why life and relationships have been as they have and it wasn't all my fault. I tried my best but with sections of development missing trust is a big issue."
This book helped me understand so much of why I am like I am. Essential for anyone who's been institutionalised in any way, whether you think you've been traumatised or not. Make sure you get past the first half!
Good description of the potential trauma experienced by young children sent to boarding school. An important book for parents to read who are considering sending their kids to prep school. Also important for therapists and boarding school survivors.