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The Enemy within: Thatcher's Secret War Against the Miners Paperback – 13 Apr 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books; New edition edition (13 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844675084
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844675081
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 0.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A real-life thriller." - Evening Standard "One of the most remarkable demolition jobs ever." - Spectator "A tribute to detailed journalistic investigation ... strips away the myths and lies." - New Statesman "An astonishing book." - The Nation "Riveting. It knocks spots off the usual 'whodunnit'" - Guardian

About the Author

Seumas Milne is the Comment Editor and a columnist for the Guardian. He was previously the Guardian's Labour Editor and a staff journalist on The Economist. He is a joint winner of the "What the Papers Say" scoop of the year award and co-author of Beyond the Casino Economy.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By S Wood on 11 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
Seamus Milnes book takes as it's starting point the 1990 Daily Mirror/Cook Report "scoop" regarding Arthur Scargill and his National Union of Mineworkers associate Peter Heathfield. They were accused of embezzling monies to pay off their mortgages from donations made by Libyan Trade Unionists during the 1984-85 Miners Strike. The story led to Scargill and Heathfield being subjected to a number of lawsuits from their own Trade Unions executive, as well as a variety of Government bodies, investigations by the Inland Revenue and the Serious Fraud Office and left Scargills reputation in tatters. After months of official investigations, it turned out that the accusations were entirely false: one didn't have a mortgage, the other had paid his off out of his savings. Not only that, but the one person who had been involved in fraud (not counting the then Daily Mirror proprietor Robert Maxwell who enthusiastically supported the false claims) was the Daily Mirrors and the Cook Reports single source: Roger Windsor, the leading non-elected officer of the NUM through-out the Miners Strike of 1984-85. The information that Milne collated for this book strongly suggests that Roger Windsor was an informer, or agent, for the security services whose head of Trade Union espionage during the Miners Strike was Stella Rimmington, later to be the first female head of MI5.

Milne goes beyond debunking the smear campaign against Scargill and Heathfield to looking at a variety of other issues surrounding the Miners Strike. The activities of the Media, the Conservative Party, the right-wing of the Labour Party, MI5, a disparate bunch of right wing loons (not to be confused with MI5!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By JKR on 20 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting book that mainly seeks to address the manifold accusations thrown at Scargill and Peter Heathfield after the miners' strike. Whilst you may have your own opinions about Scargill, you are left in no doubt as to the relentless attempts by the establishment to destroy the reputation of an man completely innocent of the charges he faced. Although the book has a slightly polemical tone, it leaves no stone unturned and is incredibly detailed, especially in terms of the various financial dealings, although sometimes it is difficult to keep track of the figures involved. The better chapters are the ones concerning the crooked Maxwell, and how the lengths the security services went to, to undermine the miners. You are left astonished how the striking miners and their leaders were able to last out for a whole year given the full force of the establishment machinations they faced. Cleary, the author is of a left-wing persuasion but the book is not simply an anti-Thatcherite rant (Thatcher and Ian McGregor are barely mentioned), the Labour Party and other figures associated with the Labour movement come in for criticism too for their failure to support the miners' cause and rallying to vilify Scargill. The preface to the latest edition is also a brilliant critique of Thatcherism (and the myth that her policies were a necessary evil) and the unfettered capitalism that resulted in the 2008 economic crisis.
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83 of 93 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
When newspapers pronounce the guilt of a high profile figure, they splash the story across the front-page. When it later transpires that the story is false, they may occasionally print a retraction or correction - but they usually "stick it inside somewhere" at the bottom of a page.
This excellent book provides a thorough account of the real truth behind the smear campaign of the early 1990's directed against the National Union of Miners and Arthur Scargill in particular. A campaign with one goal, but many players - the media, the Tory government and the security services - the objective of which was to follow through Margaret Thatcher's aim of ensuring the coal miners (and unions in general) would never again be in a position where they might hold the country to ransom, or bring down a government.
Seumas Milne's updated and exhaustive work exposes the truth, once and for all, about a campaign that ultimately failed because it was based on a foundation of lies and misinformation.
Milne only touches on the strike itself, and twenty years on there is a real need for a similarly exhaustive study of the 84-85 miners strike to accompany this book (hopefully written by an correspondingly impartial observer), so that students and historians can in the future, fully understand the lasting significance of these events.
The book itself in extremely well written and makes easy reading. If I have one criticism, it would be regarding Milne's explanation of the truth about the "Libyan money". The point is clearly made quite early on, but reiterated and re-explained too often afterwards.
Forget Michael Moore's rants about the corruption and lies in the US: read this book and discover some home truths about those that we entrust with our money, our lives and our security in this country.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Margot on 14 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A brilliant read! At last I could read some of the truth about the dreadful politically motivated strike.

This is the story not about the enemy within the mining communities but about a Prime Minister and her cohorts determined to destroy the mining communities in an immoral manner.

I would recommend this book to all who are interested in truth and to political activists determined to find the truth about Mrs Thatcher and her determination to destroy the trade union movement.
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