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Boyhood and Single-Sex Education

In Britain, the late 1940’s and early 50’s were probably the hardest years of the 20th century.  For millions of people, the postwar decade was one of icy nights in gaslit rooms, interminable queues, and meals composed of whale fat and tinned beef—the comically vile ingredients of a serious sacrifice that particular generation is unlikely to forget.  While rationing continued, so did the Ministry of Food with its raft of regulations enforceable in the courts.  For years after the war, “snoopers” were officially encouraged to report anyone suspected of the Babylonian luxury of possessing adequate quantities of butter, sugar, or tea.  Most middle-class homes lacked both a refrigerator and a furnace, instead relying on an outdoor window ledge and a two-bar electric fire that gave off as much heat as a 60-watt light bulb.  For many, unrepaired bomb damage remained a way of life throughout the 1950’s.  You could walk down almost any British city street and see at least one home with a tarpaulin stretched over its missing roof, and quite often at night these kept up a kind of demented beat as they flapped wildly in the wind.

One of the few consolations of the 50’s, and a rallying point even for many nonsporting Britons, was the performance of the English national cricket team, and in particular of its wicketkeeper and star turn Godfrey...

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