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Ghost Dancers by David J Douglass


Ghost Dancers: The Miners’ Last Generation (Stardust and Coaldust – A Coalminers Mahabharata) the third part of the trilogy.

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George is right of course and a number of books have attempted to follow the events of the strike and its conclusion in March of 1985. The absolute uniqueness of this study by David Douglass a life long coal miner and rank and file official of the miners union is that it takes us to the run up period from 1979 and perhaps more importantly the ten years which follows the strike of 85. The book demonstrates how this decade with the 84/5 period in the middle of it, doesn’t reach its conclusion until the last great stand of the miners in 92/3 a period for a time when the general British public finally come to realise that we were looking at the total decimation of the mines and a part of British life which was centuries old. Unlike 84 millions rallied to the miners cause and even Fleet Street ran back the miners campaigns. The axe was stayed while parliament dithered, the NCB unleashed unrestrained campaigns of bullying, and victimisation coupled with wheel barrows full of money to any who would take the 30 pieces of silver and leave the fight.Then in a decisive Commons debate the Lib Dem’s demonstrating their coming trajectory cross the floor to vote with the Tories and the closures plough aside families and communities and bonds of solidarity and hard work too hard to envisage in this day and age. These were harrowing heartbreaking years which this book uniquely covers. It is the history of the miners last generation told first hand, by a coal miner whose soul is his miner’s union card. If you read one book on the history of the last thirty years of the miners union this must be that book. The NUM’s triumphs, its glory and its bitter internecine warfare as miners turned on each other and the union fought to retain its direction and democracy. It is the period when Arthur Scargill looses his ability to walk on water and starts to sink with the accompanying loss of faith and belief which had for so long sustained his leadership. It is the period when the miners for the first time in several generations loose their faith and hope and their communities start to collapse around them. It is a period which prompted the Thatcherite zealot Keith Joseph to comment “we went too far”. This was the crossroads of history, society could walk in two opposite directions could embrace two alternative visions of society. We didn’t walk far down that road to where we all are now to know, this was the wrong option.

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Weight 0.610000 kg