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by Tom Sharpe

Porterhouse College, Cambridge, is faced with the ultimate challenge when its established order, notoriety for rowing, low academic standards and proud cuisine come under scrutiny. For to the college comes a new Master, an ex-grammar school boy, who demands first, women students, a self service canteen and a slot machine for contraceptives.

The results are catastrophic!!

Download Porterhouse Blue (Transaction Large Print Books) epub
ISBN: 185089308X
ISBN13: 978-1850893080
Category: Literature
Author: Tom Sharpe
Language: English
Publisher: ISIS Large Print Books; Large Print edition (September 1, 1998)
Pages: 344 pages
ePUB size: 1483 kb
FB2 size: 1966 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 216
Other Formats: lrf mobi rtf lrf

An English university, such as Cambridge, in the late 1950's, was almost the same place it was in 1550. Tom Sharpe recreates life at the WORST college at Cambridge, a college that admits students based on the size of their families' contribution to the college endowment, where students are not students, but rich young louts who spend their time getting drunk and chasing local shop girls, where the teaching staff care nothing about teaching, but do care about eating gourmet meals, and graduate students are paid to take final exams for students who spend exam day drinking in a bar.

"Porterhouse Blue" is a funny story about what happens when a "liberal" politician is appointed the master of this terrible college, and he proposes to admit women as students, accept students based upon academic ability rather than family wealth, and finance upgrades to the academic program by replacing gourmet faculty meals with a self-serve cafeteria.

The new master is soon at war with the entire staff of the college, who want it to remain as it has been for 500 years, a place for rich young men to drink while the faculty do no work and eat like lords. His most dangerous opponent is the "Head Porter", a position that does not exist at an American college. The Head Porter, who did not complete high school, is supervising all non-teaching activities at the college, including the women who make the beds for the students and clean their rooms, the purchasing of supplies, the running of the kitchen and dining room, and the upkeep of the grounds and buildings.

The Head Porter has a tiny "official" salary, but he has become wealthy by arranging for smart graduate students to take final exams for rich, drunken undergraduates. After 40 years, the former college boys who cheated on exams have used their phony Cambridge diploma and their family's wealth and power to rise to the very top of British business, industry, and even key positions in the British government.

So, while the new Master has the backing of the British prime minister who appointed him, the Head Porter can call in numerous allies from the highest levels of power.

Although American universities do not have "Head Porters", anyone who has been at a university when a new President, Provost or Dean tries to change the school in any significant way will recognize this story. The tenured faculty of a college are quite sure that the college exists to serve the faculty, and any effort to reduce their power, or to require them to work more than 12 or 14 hours a week for about 30 weeks a year will encounter violent opposition.

By the way, although the Master may have been fighting a losing battle in 1960, by 2014, his side of the battle is winning. Oxford and Cambridge, just like Harvard, Yale and Princeton, now have women as both students and faculty. Most college students in England are admitted based on academic merit, although a large share still come from the ultra-exclusive schools such as Eton. From time to time, Oxford and Cambridge even take a few students from low-income inner city neighborhoods who have no relatives known as "Lord" or "Lady".
This book exemplifies why Tom Sharpe was the best British humorist since Woodehouse. It's a sweet satire and joyous to read.
This is by far the best of the Sharpes I've read to date. In this brilliantly written satire, Sharpe deftly shifts your loyalties from character to character exposing the challenges faced by change. How do we hang on to what's best about the past whilst benefiting from the liberties and egalitarianism of our modern age? Funny, great characterisation, clever.
The book is funny. English humor to last a lifetime. Most of the characters are hilariously eccentric or just insane. I got the movie too.
BUT after that it's the saying, "Enough is enough."
well written, very funny. Once I started reading I couldn't stop.
Will be reading more written by sane author.
Interesting from the first to last page.
A good read - you need to know a bit about English culture and college education to get the most out of it.
This is the third time I have read this book. Good fun.
Great one of this kind: Brit academic wit.