Ben Elton, WWII, education and Educating Yorkshire

A bit of a whirlwind of linked thoughts today, but not every day can contain a coherent and well structured/fascinating piece. Sometimes – in this blogging everyday scenario – you just have to put up with the scattered floating thoughts in my brain.

So here goes. Whilst on holiday I read a great book by Ben Elton – who is turning into one of my favourite authors by the way. He’s easy to read, writes well and writes dialogue exceptionally well (probably due to the fact he’s also a stage and screen writer). His stories are compelling, his characters ones you care about and he happens to write War novels particularly well. Two Brothers is a story about a Jewish family living in Berlin during the Second World War and the years that built up to it (in a very small nutshell), and it revealed so much to be about the intervening years between the two Great Wars (interesting adjective there really isn’t it?) and the events of WWII that I really began to question my education.

I won’t go into more detail about the book, I’m not writing a review just linking thoughts, so all I need to say further is that I essentially had absolutely no idea what life was like for Jews in Germany before WWII broke out other than that it was pretty bad. The question really needs to be asked, how could I be so ignorant? I now feel I need to take myself to the library and read up on my modern history, I also can’t believe I wasn’t taught about this at school. It seems to me that something as hugely important in our country’s and the world’s history as WWII should be taught comprehensively to everyone, not just an optional GCSE module. WWII, however, is just the tip of the iceberg of stuff I never learnt at school that I really feel I should have done; I was never taught about the Titanic, and I couldn’t tell you anything in depth about the politics of the country…

Which brings me on to my final thought which is that Educating Yorkshire is a great and inspiring TV show and I wish my teachers had been as good as these ones seem.

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