What was it really like to live through the twentieth century? In 1910 three-quarters of the population were working class, but their story has been ignored until now.
Based on the first-person accounts of servants, factory workers, miners and housewives, award-winning historian Selina Todd reveals an unexpected Britain where cinema audiences shook their fists at footage of Winston Churchill, communities supported strikers, and where pools winners (like Viv Nicholson) refused to become respectable. Charting the rise of the working class, through two world wars to their fall in Thatcher's Britain and today, Todd tells their story for the first time, in their own words.
Uncovering a huge hidden swathe of Britain's past, The People is the vivid history of a revolutionary century and the people who really made Britain great.
What an excellent book this is . . . The final chapters are its best, providing an analysis of what we have all lived through. Ms Todd's great ability as an academic is to avoid writing like one, so her book is accessible and entertaining. Even for those not engrossed by politics, the tales of the ordinary lives are compelling - Alistair Dawber, Independent
What differentiates Selina Todd's book from existing literature on this subject is the way her narrative actually documents the voices of working-class people. Through their words we come to a better understanding of how lives flourished or faltered, as various government policies were introduced, or taken away . . . Brilliant and well-researched - New Internationalist
Straightforward and useful - Juliet Gardiner, Daily Telegraph
The landscape is fascinating, and the distance travelled enormous . . . It is a colour tale too, taking in working class culture, music and dance crazes, and the move from a world of clerks, secretaries and manual workers to DIY superstores, Sunday working and the demise of trade union power . . . The scope and range of Todd's study is impressive - Scotsman
Todd is excellent in describing the effects that the Great War had on society and her use of servants as barometers of social change brings a fresh voice to this history - Alan Johnson, The Spectator
Selina Todd does not lack in courage and ambition. Her book, based on more than 10 years' research, is wide-ranging in its scope and packed with detail. Through her own extensive interviews in Coventry and Liverpool she provides new insights into the lives of working-class families, while she puts particular emphasis on the role of women, a theme often neglected in previous studies. She is good at contradicting some of the conventional wisdom about this period - Daily Express