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on 26 March 2015
Arthur Scargill and Margaret Thatcher were 2 sides of the same loathesome coin. Both sought to remake the world in their own image; neither could brook any questioning of or challenge to their convictions or authority; both were convinced that only themselves were right and both pursued their vision at the great expense of the very people they were supposed to be representing. Both claimed to be fighting for democracy, but neither of them believed in any democracy that disagreed with them.

They deserved each other.

Paul Routledge has written and excoriatingly honest portrait. He tackles complex issues and makes them understandable for the rest of us. He gives us an objective view of some very subjective events. His iconoclasm comes not from on high or from the Tory, free-market, neo-con, neo-lib Right, but from his roots in the very communities that Scargill represented.

As Thatcher & Scargill deserved each other, so Scargill deserves this book.
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on 8 April 2016
Sadly, what neither Routledge nor any of the other reviews mention is that all the accusations of dodgy financial shenanigans were proven beyond doubt to be wholly untrue. The central allegations against Scargill and Heathfield - that the former had lifted NUM cash to pay off his mortgage and that the latter had also pilfered miners' cash for home improvements - were proved conclusively to be utter lies.
Regarding the rest of the smears, it was accepted by Lightman QC, who investigated on behalf of the NUM NEC, that these had arisen due solely to the herculean efforts of Scargill and co to keep the miners' cash out of the hands of the sequestrators.
The rest of the biography is a disgrace; spiteful, snidey and without even a shred of objectivity. It also contains many factual efforts which is even more unforgivable. Routledge either did little research, cared even less for the facts or utterly fails to understand the inner workings of the NUM. Whatever the case he repeats the wholly untrue allegation that Scargill denied the miners a ballot, during the strike of 84/85. It is no secret that Scargill and Routledge loathe each other but to let that animosity run wild and unchecked in the service of a biography is disgusting.
Very poor indeed.
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on 2 January 2016
brilliant and well written but what else would you expect from a writer of this calibre. I don't like what Scargill did to the miners but he has an ego as big as Selby coalfield and came up against a woman with one just as big. Yes this is a well balanced book very well worth a read
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on 15 February 2012
Routledge had clearly done his research when he wrote this. Arthur Scargill divided opinion in the UK, and still does. He is both loathed with a passion as a revolutionary, and admired as a teller of inconvenient truths.
I became aware of him when, as a Labour supporter, I was astonished to see him elected President for Life of the NUM, following Joe Gormley's retirement. I admired Gormley, a typical Yorkshireman, like myself. Scargill was clearly something else, though, and it was blindingly-obvious that trouble would follow in the wake of his election. History suggests that it did.
Routledge covers Scargill's early life, citing school, chapel, sunday school influences and the influence of his mother. His elevation through the ranks of the NUM is charted carefully, as is his work for the compensation of miners injured through the perils of coal mining.

Routledge clearly does not warm to Arthur Scargill - Scargill would never have authorised this biography, let's be honest! - but he maintains an analytical stance towards events so that the reader can form their own opinion of the man.
A telling point is that he sees Scargill more in the likeness of John Wesley than Karl Marx, as an operator. Evangelical passion is more close to Scargill than theory-based political motivation.

What is clear is that the privations suffered by the miners and their families during Scargill's strikes were not really shared by their leader, but we all knew this at the time, didn't we. The lurid stories cited in the press about dodgy-looking financial transactions are gone into.

Scargill's fans will say he was right all along about pit closures, his numbers stacked up, but detractors will point out that he was one of the main reasons successive governments went this way, as the miner's union seemed to consider themselves capable of deciding who did and did not run the country, making the terminal conflict with Mrs Thatcher inevitable.

I enjoyed the book very much and I commend it to others interested in the times and places of Arthur Scargill.
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on 4 February 2016
what a great book
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on 18 January 2013
Good social history book. Shows Scargill for what he was. Recommended if youre interested in this era or if you're studying politics
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