Politicians claim social mobility is real - a just reward for ambition and hard work. This book proves otherwise.
From servants' children who became clerks in Victorian Britain, to managers made redundant by the 2008 financial crash, travelling up or down the social ladder has been a fact of British life for more than a century. Drawing on hundreds of personal stories, Snakes and Ladders tells the hidden history of how people have really experienced that social mobility - both upwards and down.
It shows how a powerful elite on the top rungs have clung to their perch and prevented others ascending. It also introduces the unsung heroes who created more room at the top - among them adult educators, feminists and trade unionists, whose achievements unleashed the hidden talents of thousands of people.
As we face political crisis after crisis, Snakes and Ladders argues that only by creating greater opportunities for everyone to thrive can we ensure the survival of our society.
Fairness Foundation event, February 2022
Snakes and Ladders
Travelling up or down the social ladder has been a British obsession for over a century, but can political leaders continue to claim that social mobility is a real and just reward for hard work?
Book launch event at the University of Oxford, February 2021
Book Launch: Snakes and Ladders: The Great British Social Mobility Myth; Professor Selina Todd in conversation with John McDonnell MP
From servants' children who became clerks in Victorian Britain, to managers made redundant by the 2008 financial crash, travelling up or down the social ladder has been a fact of British life for more than a century.
Guardian review, February 2021
Snakes and Ladders by Selina Todd review - down with the meritocracy
lthough no book published when bookshops are closed can be said to be well-timed, the historian Selina Todd's Snakes and Ladders arrives at a moment of particular relevance. Just when society feels as if it has ground to a halt, Todd looks at what she calls in her subtitle the Great British social mobility myth.