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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 8 December 2003
I first read this book some twenty years ago on a train to London about to embark on my career in Higher Education. For the first time in my life I laughed out loud at a book. I sat on the train in public and could not help laughing at nearly every page, until tears streamed down my face. Tom Sharpes sartorial humour had not been surpassed since. Plumbers four, blow up dolls and further educationalists have never been the same since. Hugely funny.
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on 1 May 2013
This has to be one of the funniest books I have ever read. It was recommended to me by a relative but I didn't really take a lot of notice until one day I thought ok I will try a sample on my Kindle. I read that and realised it would be worth reading the book. I am so glad I did. I don't think I have ever read anything that has made me laugh out loud before but this book did. At one point I was crying with laughter. I will certainly be getting more books about Wilt and more books by Tom Sharpe. His way of writing is great, he writes as though these things really happen. You can certainly believe that they could happen. I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone.
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on 23 May 2004
Let's cut to the chase, this book along with Riotous assembly are without doubt the funniest books i've ever read.
Unlike the other Sharpe books (which are nowhere as good i hasten to add) you will find that once you've started you cannot put them down.My wife,i'm sure, contemplated having me admitted under the mental health act, such were my outbursts of laughter.
Buy both these books, you will read them again and again.
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VINE VOICEon 13 March 2016
I first read this book many many years ago when I was in my mid teens, and I remember loving it. I decided to revisit it as an adult but was slightly dubious. Would it be as good as I remembered? To be honest it was even better - most of the humour is broad enough for even a teenage reader to enjoy but there's a sophistication here that must have gone over my head years ago. I think with this re-reading I got more out the book. The book had me laughing like a loon several times and my heart was totally taken by Henry Wilt, the downtrodden everyman who manages to stand up to and best the establishment after a comical series of events culminate in him being arrested for a murder he didn't commit. Several scenes are genuinely side-splitting - the section where the inflatable doll (with a vagina!) is pulled from the concrete filled tomb had me roaring and I had to look around several times in embarresment. I was reading the book while parked up in Tesco's carpark and people passing must have thought that I had lost my mind as I sat there roaring with uncontrollable laughter. The highlight of the book for me where the interrogation scenes between Henry Wilt and the non nonsense policeman, Inspector Flint. These scenes are a masterclass in comedic writing and are among the best written comedy I have ever read.

How could I pick fault with this book when it is just so entertaining. Of course modern readers may find it a little misogynistic and while some of the attitudes may belong firmly to the era in which the book was written, to condemn it for these reasons would be a mistake. Eve Wilt is painted as a truly formidable character. So much so that the reader can empathise with her husband's murderous intentions towards her, and at no point does she feel like an helpless victim. Quite the contrary it is her husband, Henry who comes across as the victim. He is just a passive personality who bumbles his way through the book, while events befall him that will result in him regaining, or perhaps discovering his manhood for the first time, and coming out very much on top. At the end of the book both Henry and Eve Wilt have undergone a transformation and this reader was left with split sides an a urge for more Henry Wilt.
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This is an hilarious book that will have you curled up in stitches for hours. It tells the story of one Henry Wilt. A nobody, unnoticed by the world and lumbered in marriage to the formidable Eva, he spends his days as a college lecturer trying to keep day release students quiet for an hour and dreaming of being `someone'.

Into his boring life explodes an American couple, who befriend Eva. Suddenly Wilt's life will never be the same again as he finds himself involved with a rubber doll and accused of a triple murder. In typical Sharpe style we start with a set of innocuous circumstances, then gradually via a series of entirely plausible small steps we are suddenly launched into a bizarre and hilarious circumstances. Wilt's world is turned upside down almost without our noticing.

The results, as Wilt tries to find his way out of his circumstances are a joy to read. I cannot even think of his police interviews with Inspector Flint without curling up in laughter. Wilt calls on all his experience dealing with day release classes to run rings round the police, and confound them at every turn. And when he comes to make up a confession, his years of daydreaming suddenly have a use.

It's a screamingly funny book, not as anarchic of some of Sharpe's other works, but the series of character studies work wonderfully, giving a series of well drawn people. This attention to the characters and the clash of the various personalities is the source of much of the humour and works extremely well.

A classic tale and one that will definitely have you laughing.
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Tom Sharpe is a brilliantly funny writer in my opinion.
I'd read Porterhouse Blue and wanted more.

You'll certainly get more with this book. Just as funny, if not more.

Anyway, I hope that this review is helpful in some way when making the decision.
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on 21 April 2010
This book is a classic. It is such a good satire on the dumbing down of education and the mickey mouse degree culture, plus it skewers the pretentsions of the middle classes; however these days colleges are so female-dominated it is unlikely Wily would be a lecturer in an English department because many are male-free zones. It is a bit dated, and some women think this book is sexist (i do not though); a modern and darker version would be 'Crump' or 'A Campus Comedy', those there are not so Wodehousian as Sharpe. The novels from the 70s that Tom Sharpe wrote are classics - I love them all, but love this one especially because I am involved with education.
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on 27 October 2014
NO Spoilers.

for those that like Tom Sharpe there's a range of 'series' to choose from. Personally I prefer almost everything else he did to the Blott era, even porterhouse blue. However the one thing remained constant (Well until the godawful Grantchester Grind was it? So bad I've wiped it from mind - I put it down to a formulaic last chance to cash in and top up his pension/estate to leave etc) was the acidic eye he had for not just seeing and describing a farcical scene, but setting up deliciously and then relishing and revelling in it extracting the very essence of it right at the pinnacle of excruciatingness (if that's a real word).
This book is a great example. Although, The Throwback will live me forever there are a good half dozen others that are fantastic. Particularly any that feature Konstable Els.
Personally I'd go for anything around this era - he was really on form. And If I'm honest I'd have to say I avoid the later works as I fell he'd exhausted his vein of genius.
ACID TEST: would I buy this again - If this copy were lost damaged etc - YES - and I recommend it to any one who has a enjoys a good sense of humour.
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on 22 September 2011
Terrific story! This is the sequel to "Riotous Assembly," so if you have not read either, it's best to read that first and meet all the characters first. Still it works well as a standalone, a picture of Old South Africa, Boers v. English v. blacks. And exploding ostriches of course.

Oh its absolutely filthy, not for the kiddies. I can be a bit tetchy about rude humour, but this completely works!

Outrageous, bawdy, and violent. What more do you want?
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on 29 November 1999
This book has been my first contact with Sharpe. Not my last. I find "Wilt on High" extremely funny, well written, cleverly put together, with just a dash (maybe more than a dash) of healthy vulgarity and it shows also that Mr Sharpe has an incredibly piercing eye to see, analyze and render the foibles of a great variety of human specimens such as feminists, police inspectors, teachers, American military men, quacks, overintelligent brats, etc. Highly recommended.
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