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Summary

The story of young Tom Brown's seemingly hideous years spent at rugby school and his spirited and astonishingly stalwart response to the institutionalised bullying prevalent at the 'Great' British public schools became exactly the campaigning tool its author hoped it would.

The regimes at these schools had been largely unchallenged, with the assumption being that the education and training received were the best. The revelations in Hughes' book of the beatings and the burnings uncovered a system which had been all but hidden.

Hughes had been a schoolboy at rugby school in the 1830s when the school was run by the educational reformer Dr. Thomas Arnold. Dr. Arnold's idealism transferred itself wholesale to the young Hughes, and the good doctor appears towards the end of Tom Brown's Schooldays as the young master, bearing the light of possible redemption.

Public Domain (P)2008 Silksoundbooks Limited

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  • D
  • 09-04-17

Unexpectedly brilliant

I could not imagine how much I would enjoy this book, had seen the films before - but so much in the films was glossed over, changed or missed out.
By far the original book is my favourite rendition of this tale.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Julian
  • 28-07-17

The Greatness of Britain

Half remembering the BBC adaptation from the early seventies ("That's dashed decent of you, East!!" became a catchphrase in my house for a time) and the riotous parody by Michael Palin (the school leopard, the maggot pit, the Hop...), I thought I knew what to expect, a ripping yarn of period schoolboy japes. How wrong I was! This was far more satisfying and though-provoking, in part thanks to Hugh Bonneville's sensitive performance (clearly a man with fond recollections of his own schooldays). The eternal question of what education is for rings through the recounted episodes, with its highest ideals embodied in the great Dr Arnold. (If this is a true account he must go down as one of the most influential Victorians, since Rugbeians would have been truly fitted by his tutelage to build a worldwide Empire. And all they were taught was Latin and Greek!!) The stalwart Tom is a clear forerunner of other British schoolboy heroes such as Biggles, Jennings, Billy Bunter, his namesake William, and Harry Potter in later years. For a compendium of the values that made Britain great, this recording cannot be highly enough recommended.

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  • Simon
  • 10-09-16

An entertaining story, and well read

I liked this story very much, both because of the reader, and the way in which it is written.