A revealing account of the abuse that occurs in Britain's elite boarding schools and its long cultural fall-out.
'A brave and necessary book' GUARDIAN
'Shocking, gripping and sobering' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
No other society sends its young boys and girls away to school to prepare them for a role in the ruling class.
Beating, bullying, fagging, cold baths, vile food and paedophile teachers are just some of the features of this elite education, and, while some children loved boarding school, others now admit to suffering life-altering psychological damage. Stiff Upper Lip exposes the hypocrisy, cronyism and conspiracy that are key to understanding the scandals over abuse and neglect in institutions all over the world.
Award-winning investigative journalist Alex Renton went to three traditional boarding schools. Drawing on those experiences, and the vivid testimony of hundreds of former pupils, he has put together a compelling history, important to anyone wondering what shaped the people who run Britain in the twenty-first century.
Alex Renton is an award-winning journalist whose career has ranged from theatre criticism, food writing and the investigation of child abuse to work as a political correspondent and war reporter in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He is also the author of PLANET CARNIVORE. Educated at Ashdown House and Eton, he now lives in Edinburgh with his wife, son and daughter.
At last, a scrupulously honest insight into private boarding education in Britain - ranging from the abuse to which it subjects the child, and the family, to the abuse of Britain's social order in laying the foundation to buying your child's way to the top — Jon Snow
Renton mixes memoir and anecdote with deeply researched history... this is a brave and necessary book — Sam Leith, GUARDIAN
A thoughtful and sensitive indictment of one of the cornerstones of the British establishment — Andrew Anthony, OBSERVER
Gruelling and gripping — William Moore, EVENING STANDARD
Renton has the thirst for truth, and for exposing depravity, of a Gitta Sereny — Ysenda Maxtone-Graham, THE TIMES
[A] masterful expose of private school perversion — Sam Kiley, SKY NEWS
Stiff Upper Lip is shocking, gripping and sobering — Rupert Christiansen, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
Enormously valuable — John Preston, DAILY MAIL
Stiff Upper Lip kept me absolutely enthralled ... Even if you never went near a public school, the book is a phenomenal read: it kept me up all night — George Hook, NEWSTALK
Impressive in its breadth and depth — Harry Hodges, DAILY EXPRESS
Stiff Upper Lip is a furious, closely researched polemic against boarding school — James Fergusson, COUNTRY LIFE
Quite breathtaking ... If you want to understand anything about institutional abuse it is required reading — James O’Brien, LBC
Grimly absorbing — NEW STATESMAN
This is a fascinating book — Ian Irvine, PROSPECT
Personal revelations are expertly woven into interview material, social history and theorising by psychologists and other writers ... Renton deserves praise and attention for disturbing our equanimity about this tradition — Miranda Green, FINANCIAL TIMES
This is a well-researched study, which draws on a variety of historical sources in addition to some searing near-contemporary accounts of childhood unhappiness and its long-lasting effects — Nicholas Tucker, THE TABLET
Brilliantly deconstructs the myth of the British stiff upper lip — Rod Liddle