An Uneasy Inheritance

Polly Toynbee

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Atlantic Books
6 June 2024
ISBN: 9781838958374
448 pages

From the publisher

One of the most respected, prolific and razor-sharp voices in social commentary uses the prism of her extraordinary family to examine the true state of class in Britain.

'Fascinating' Spectator
'Entertaining' Sunday Times
'Enthralling' Guardian
'Beautiful, funny and moving' Daily Mail
'Compelling and moving' Observer

'Replete with vivid - often hilarious, often shocking - anecdotes' Financial Times

While for generations Polly Toynbee's ancestors have been committed left-wing rabble-rousers railing against injustice, they could never claim to be working class, settling instead for the prosperous life of academia or journalism enjoyed by their own forebears. So where does that leave their ideals of class equality?

Through a colourful, entertaining examination of her own family - which in addition to her writer father Philip and her historian grandfather Arnold contains everyone from the Glenconners to Jessica Mitford to Bertrand Russell, and features ancestral home Castle Howard as a backdrop - Toynbee explores the myth of mobility, the guilt of privilege, and asks for a truly honest conversation about class in Britain.