A controversial new investigation in the 1984 Miners strike and how it changed Modern Britain. The Miners strike was a dividing line in Modern British history. Before 1984, Britain was an industrial nation, reborn from the ashes of the Second World War by Clement Atlees vision of a welfare state. Most of the great industries were nationalised and the trade unions was one of the major forces in the land. After the strike, which ended with humiliating defeat in March 1985, Thatchers Britain was born. In March 1984, the leader of the Miners Union, Arthur Scargill, led his members out of the pits without a ballot to protest at planned pit closures; they would spend the next 13 months facing the utmost deprivations as they fought to keep their jobs. On picket lines the miners faced harassment and the police, which culminated in the violent Battle of Orgreave. Meanwhile Thatchers government feared that Britain was on the verge of a civil war. It was a struggle of attrition that neither side could dare lose. Twenty five years after the strike, the debate is still controversial. Marching to the Faultline tells the full story of the strike from confidential cabinet meetings at Downing Street to backroom negotiations, and life on the picket line. The book draws on previously unseen sources from interviews with the major figures, private archives and documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act to set the record straight.
Francis Beckett's new book, What Did the Baby Boomers Ever Do For Us - How the Children of the Sixties Lived the Dream and Failed the Future is published in July 2010.
It's the history of a generation, born to the freedom from want, fear and ignorance provided by the Attlee settlement. The baby boomers, says Beckett, decided that the freedoms that it had were too good for their children. So they pulled the ladder up after them.
This racy, entertaining and angry book explains the baby boomer generation in terms of their education, their music and their politics.
It is the sixteenth book by author, journalist, broadcaster, playwright and contemporary historian Francis Beckett. His last two plays, after successful London fringe runs, have now been published by Samuel French: Money Makes You Happy (2008) and The Right Honourable Lady (2009.)
He writes for national newspapers and magazines, broadcasts frequently, and edits the national magazine of the University of the Third Age.