is a perennial feature of society and capitalism. One side has the youth, the
other side has the lion's share of the wealth, and the good things wealth can
In the last few years that
friction has reached to dangerous heights. Call it war. And, like all war, it
has the risk of doing severe damage.
In this fiery polemic the
author of the best-selling The War on the
Old has switched sides, and now examines the conflict as it must appear to
For the first time since
the Second World War, younger generations can expect less fulfilled lives than
their elders. They may not be their `betters', but in the second decade of the twenty-first
century they surely are better heeled.
Traditionally society's way of controlling the
young has been to send them off to war, or conscript them. They would either
die, or learn `duty'. Now we send as many as 50% to university, from which they
emerge encumbered with debt. As Orwell observed, there is nothing like debt for
extinguishing the political fire in your belly.
The War on the Young is lively, provocative and ranges wittily, and at times angrily, over
many casus belli from the standpoint
of the nation's young people. Things are not getting better. This is a timely
and highly readable look at a ticking generational time-bomb.
John Sutherland is a British academic, newspaper columnist and author. Currently he is an Emeritus Lord Northcliffe
Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London. He has published eighteen books, including 'Is Heathcliff a Murderer? Puzzles in Nineteenth-century Fiction', 'The Boy Who Loved Books: A Memoir', 'Lives of the Novelists: A History of Fiction in 294 Lives' and 'The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction'.