I am a historian at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Hilda’s College. I research and write on class, inequality, working-class history, feminism and women’s lives in modern Britain. You can follow me on Twitter: @selina_todd.
My most recent book – The People. The Rise and Fall of the Working Class, 1910-2010 was published on 10 April 2014 by John Murray. 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 pessimism and despair – but ultimately of hope for a better future, one that we can build by knowing more about our past.
The next book signings and discussions will be at the Ilkley Literature Festival (now sold out) and the Bristol Festival of Ideas: see events page for details.
‘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)
My book sprang from my desire to rewrite the history of a century often narrated in the words, and seen through the eyes, of the upper and middle classes. This book is about the experience of ordinary people – and tells how they made history, as well as responding to the actions of those more powerful than themselves.
Please explore my website to find out more about my work.
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