Backbone of the Nation: Mining Communities and the Great Strike of 1984-85

Backbone of the Nation: Mining Communities and the Great Strike of 1984-85

Robert Gildea
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A powerful new history of the Great Strike in the miners’ own voices, based on more than 140 interviews with former miners and their families Forty years ago, Arthur Scargill led the National Union of Mineworkers on one of the largest strikes in British history. A deep sense of pride existed within Britain’s mining communities who thought of themselves as the backbone of the nation’s economy. But they were vilified by Margaret Thatcher’s government and eventually broken: deprived of their jobs, their livelihoods, and in some cases, their lives.

In this groundbreaking new history, Robert Gildea interviews those miners and their families who fought to defend themselves. Exploring mining communities from South Wales to the Midlands, Yorkshire, County Durham, and Fife, Gildea shows how the miners and their families organized to protect themselves, and how a network of activists mobilized to support them. Amid the recent wave of industrial action in the United Kingdom, Backbone of the Nation highlights anew the importance of labour organization—and intimately records the triumphs, losses, and resilience of these mining communities.


    Author: Robert Gildea

    Publisher: Yale University Press

    Format: Paperback

    Pages: 496

    ISBN: 9780300277906

    Publication Date: March 2024