Which books did the British working classes read - and how did they read them? How did they respond to canonical authors, penny dreadfuls, classical music, school stories, Shakespeare, Marx, Hollywood movies, imperialist propaganda, the Bible, the BBC, the Bloomsbury Group? What was the quality of their classroom education, as they experienced it? How did they educate themselves? What was their level of cultural literacy? How much did they know about politics, science, history, philosophy, poetry, and sexuality? Who were the proletarain intellectuals, and why did they pursue the life of the mind? These questions are addressed in this book.