A Very Private School

A Very Private School

Hardback Published on: 14/03/2024
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"When you think of the school, what’s the one word that comes to mind?”


As a young boy of eight, Charles Spencer was sent to one of the most exclusive boarding schools in England. A Very Private School tells the shocking story of the abuse he endured during his five years there.

Now a bestselling historian and podcaster, Charles’ school years remain seared in his psyche with the scars impacting the rest of his life. This beautifully written and deeply sensitive memoir is the culmination of many years’ reflection on his feelings of misery, hopelessness, and abandonment whilst at the school. He captures viscerally the intense pain of homesickness, the vicious brutality of a boy’s school in the 1970s and the appalling inescapability of it all.

The book offers a clear-eyed account of his experiences, of the teachers and other staff placed in loco parentis, their casual cruelties, and toxic obsessions. All these years later, Spencer’s bafflement at their motivations to inflict such cruelty on young children is palpable. As is his fury that, even if he had spoken up, he’d never have been believed. It is an honest reckoning with his past and a reclamation of his childhood through his memories and those of his contemporaries. It deserves to be an instant classic.

  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • ISBN: 9780008666088
  • Number of pages: 304
  • Weight: 500g
  • Dimensions: 240 x 159 x 30 mm

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