Books: Class Report

A MIDDLE CLASS EDUCATION (425 pp.)—Wilfrid Sheed—HoughtonMifflin ($4.75).

At Oxford,* "snob" is not just another four-letter word but a way of being. Class, according to the despairing cry of Poet John Betjeman, is the primary English passion, one that has survived the welfare state and the shrunken horizons of em pire. The subject, class, and the scene, Oxford, form the substance of this depressing but enlightening fictional report on what might be called the Cold War Generation.

The author, Wilfrid Sheed, 30, an Anglo-American-Australian (and son of U.S. Roman Catholic Publisher Frank Sheed), has...

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