For a number of reasons, The Working Class represents an original contribution to the literature around social class and education in the UK.
Firstly, it has a clear sense of who its readership is yet does not assume that they are already steeped in the theoretical canons, so where theory is used it is clearly explained and fully exemplified within each chapter. Secondly, the chapters come from a wide variety of contributors with quite different backgrounds in academia, schools and the arts, which enables a range of distinct voices to be heard and offers insights into the multiplicity of different sites of social class reproduction. A third strength of the book is that, although it is an edited volume containing a diverse range of contributors, there is a coherent narrative voice to bind the collection together. This is achieved through the use of an editorial introduction to each chapter that links it with the previous one, and through the tone of the book -“ the predominant shade of which is a real burning sense of anger at the persistence of the injustices it documents. I am slightly ambivalent about this last point because, although I think this makes it an invigorating and stimulating read, there are some places within the book where this anger tips closer to polemic than argument. This, however, is only a relatively moderate criticism of a very good book.
As a lecturer in this field, I would recommend The Working Class as a perfect text for any course in education studies or in related areas such as sociology.