I am a writer and historian. I work at the University of Oxford where I’m a Fellow of St Hilda’s College and I lecture on modern British history. I write on class, inequality, working-class history, feminism and women’s lives in modern Britain. You can follow me on Twitter: @selina_todd.
The rest of this page is about my most recent book, but if you’d like to know more about working-class history, how the book was written, and/or how we might use the past to built a better (by which I mean socialist) future then go to the events page for less ego and more interaction.
My book The People. The Rise and Fall of the Working Class, 1910-2010 was published in 2014 by John Murray and is now out in paperback. Based on the voices of working-class people themselves, this book charts the history of ordinary workers, housewives, children and pensioners over the turbulent 20th century. I bust some of the ridiculous myths that politicians peddle about the past: that everything was alright in the age of the grammar school; that working-class people in the past were ‘deserving’ of help, but aren’t any longer; that women ‘traditionally’ stayed at home and didn’t work; that if people just accepted their place everything would be ok. My history is one of anger and defiance and, yes, sometimes of despair – but ultimately of hope for a better future, one that we can build by knowing more about our past.
The history I write is collaborative. It draws on the voices of those who produced Britain’s wealth but rarely benefit from it. If you’ve got a story to share, come along to one of the events on the ‘Events’ page and let’s get talking, planning and campaigning for a better future.
The People is now available in paperback (2015)
The next public discussion and book signing will be in Newcastle, 26 March 2015; see the ‘Events’ page.
The People: A BOOK OF THE YEAR 2014 for David Kynaston (Guardian) and Andy McSmith (Independent).
‘The People is a book we badly need … clear, compelling’ Observer
‘Rousing … My feelings, after reading Selina Todd’s great book, is that a little salutary use of the guillotine wouldn’t go amiss’ The Times
‘Todd’s history is excellent – a deft interweaving of many narratives, smart, intimate and readable’ Guardian
‘What an excellent book this is … an accessible and entertaining read’ Independent
Book of the Month, BBC History
Book of the Month, History Revealed
‘Thoroughly researched, well-written, ambitious and engaging … belongs on the shelves along with E.P. Thompson’s Making of the English Working Class and Owen Jones’ Chavs.’ Ruth Percy, Open University Open Learn
‘What differentiates Selina Todd’s book from existing literature is the way her narrative actually documents the voices of working-class people….brilliant and well-researched narrative’***** New Internationalist
‘Wonderfully readable social history…and – you could argue, with all the current Downton nonsense – necessary’. The Bookseller (an editor’s choice for 2014)
Photographs of the author are by Paul Cliff and are not to be reproduced without his permission.
Nothing on this website is to be reproduced without permission of Selina Todd