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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars like the book
I bought the book for my husband. He really thought it was a good read and recommended it to his friend .
Published 14 months ago by Rosemary Beardwell

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too journalistic
I don't know what to make of this book. The authors appear to skip between the machinations between and within the relevant parties without offering much substance at any juncture. There are some glaring omissions however. I note that no police officer is credited in the acknowledgements and bearing in mind the express and implied criticism levelled at that organization...
Published on 3 Mar. 2010 by Big Jim


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too journalistic, 3 Mar. 2010
By 
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
I don't know what to make of this book. The authors appear to skip between the machinations between and within the relevant parties without offering much substance at any juncture. There are some glaring omissions however. I note that no police officer is credited in the acknowledgements and bearing in mind the express and implied criticism levelled at that organization (much, but not all, justified) an interview or two with some cops might have offered some balance. As an example of bias there is a telling couple of anecdotes where a police officer has a "dig" at a flying picket asking who is "doing his wife" whilst when one of Anne Scargill's makes the same enquiry of a Somerset Policeman it is seen as a joke. I'm willing to bet that neither the cop or the picket found the question funny but the authors' use of language shows where their loyalties lie.

And of course that is a problem when discussing something so momentous that happened such a relatively short time ago. There will be bias, and that is understandable as long as it is stated - Seamus Milne's book for example doesn't pretend to be something it isn't. This book has a stated intention of being unbiased but as I say above it takes pot-shots at easy targets, e.g. the dead (McGregor), organizations (the Police/NUM), and people who they know won't comment (Scargill/Thatcher).

I suppose it is difficult to do justice to this subject as there are two distinct strands in the dispute - the human one on the picket line as it were, and the political one setting the agenda and this book is aimed at discussing the latter rather than the former which would have been of more interest to me.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The more they learn the less they understand, 20 Mar. 2009
This is an attempt by two journalists to add to the understanding of the strike and it is a step forward. It confirms 'secret' deals done by Kinnock, The UDM with the NCB and even McGahey with Whitelaw. It gives us access to key documents so goes beyond spin of the time. To be fair the authors wanted to speak to Scargill but he refused. They also make clear they do not think Scargill just a fool, p249. It also reads better than The Times snobbish offering or even 'Loss Without Limit' which is seen as the definitive work.

Where it fails is the usual lack of empathy with miners and Scargill. As usual with outsiders it applies 'common sense' without context or cultural understanding e.g. you don't just tell tens of thousands of spontaneous strikers to go back to work and wait for the ballot papers! Like many it concludes that Scargill should have taken one of the deals on offer so it could at least look like victory. In other words a betrayal dressed as victory. That would have been truly egotistical of Scargill. To tell miners a review procedure was in place that was worthless and protected nobody would have fooled nobody. Another example of the authors lack of empathy is their sympathising with Gavin Lightman QC in asking why Scargill hid secret accounts from the rest of the NUM Executive. At least Lightman was ignorant about Joe Gormley having been a Special Branch informer! Let me spell it out gentlemen, Scargill couldn't trust anybody. Its well known there were MI5 agents and SB informers around so he didn't broadcast it lest it get seized. Funny that eh?

As for Scargill himeslf, yes he was vain and egotistical, like all big time people, union leaders, politicians, actors etc. The leaders of ordinary men and women had to be as strong and confident as those they opposed since those they opposed had the state and media carrying them along. One things for sure, Scargill scared Thatcher and the establishment in a way 'sensible' Kinnock and Willis or any number of anti capitalist riots simply did not.

This book has actually reinforced my belief in Scargill in a strange way in that I always rolled my eyes at Scargills declaration that the strike was a victory. However Ken Capstick sums up that point perfectly on p247. In short when a more powerful enemy wants to break you there is dignity in fighting back, win or lose. The meek inherit nothing. Scargill knew the union movement was about to be hit by the Thatcher juggernaut and like the bravest in a team stepped forward to take the fight to the enemy and asked his side to follow but... Anyone streetwise knew that Thatcher could not be wheeled and dealed with. Look what happened to the naive Notts men who had a letter thanking them from the lady herself and were assured they had bright futures.

As for the personal stuff, leave the gossip to the Daily Mail harpies. Scargill is not a lonely old man, he has been seen out and about with his grandchildren at an Arsenal match and a store opening in Barnsley so we can assume he is friendly with his daughter! The tiresome comparison with a WW1 general is plain wrong since WW1 generals did not lead from the front or get hospitalised. They were many miles behind their men in chateaus. A bit like Eric Hammond and John Lyons incidentally.

So with hindsight and key documents proving the review procedure and promises offered by the NCB were worthless and confirmation that state informers were around these authors still ask the same cliched questions. 10 out of 10 for fresh research gentlemen, 2 out of 10 for new answers.

What is really needed is a comprehensive book by an insider or journo with greater understanding, step forward Seumas Milne, Dave Douglass or Arthur himself. Why he has written and said so little is beyond me, he is 71 after all. If he or his friends read this I suggest he gets a move on.
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3.0 out of 5 stars it was a conspiracy, 16 Dec. 2014
Originally published in 2009 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Miners' Strike. I read about this book online in the fascinating Daily Mail article titled The Mad, Sad World of Arthur Scargill (if you can find the correct search engine) and it might be worth a read. Many of the pit heads that served working class communities have long since disappeared to be replaced by soulless electronic factories (themselves have become history as we have now moved from living room boxes and VHS Videos into a digital era) and shopping malls. The book debunks left wing myths about Scargill but much to the delight of the left, it might debunk right wing myths about the National Coal Board Chairman Ian MacGregor. Controversially, MacGregor had already been at the top post in the huge loss-making British Steel Corporation with some of his casualties being Corby or Consett when the industry began to move into profit but his appointment in the NCB caused a stir. Some right wing stories claim MacGregor to be "appointed as tough-talking chairman" of the coal industry had been dismissed by the authors as fantasy. The let down about the publication was that it was published when Thatcher was still alive at the time but makes it clear that she was hardly blameless and it became even more revealing after a series of strokes finally got the better out of her that she was plotting to do the coal industry in and perhaps the book should be edited if it ever gets reprinted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars like the book, 29 Nov. 2013
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I bought the book for my husband. He really thought it was a good read and recommended it to his friend .
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very fair and vivid portrayal, 9 Aug. 2011
By 
Steve_e (East Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
I really enjoyed this book - having been in my mid twenties when it happened, and pretty solidly on the side of the miners it brought the names and the major episodes back to me very vividly. I found the last chapter very moving, with explanations, mea culpas and final positions of many of the main protagonists twenty plus years down the road. This brought home how long lasting the damage and hurt was to so many communities, and its place in changing the nature of our country.

I also think the author's did a good job in covering the different sides in the dispute. This might be why some of the comments have suggested the book seems to skip around - but they describe the differing perspectives (as well as prejudices and vengeful attitudes) that the various players have in an honest and insightful way. I'd strongly recommend the book even if you don't agree with all their conclusions!
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41 of 53 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Flawed account, 3 Mar. 2009
This book does contain some interesting new material about the 84/85 miners strike. However that's as far as it goes in living up to its reviews. Other than that it is another book about the 84/85 strike that puts the blame for its defeat at the door of miners leader Arthur Scargill. To underline this argument the authors line up the likes of ex labour party leader Neil (now Lord) Kinnock. They throw in a couple of ex National Union of Mineworkers research officers along with a few Trade Union leaders. These people give us at times an interesting insight at what was happening inside the NUM leadership & at government level. However for the most part they are used to paint a negative picture of Scargills role. I found the book to be contradictory in its arguments....for e.g. some of their material shows that at times the government & coal board did fear that coal stocks would run out. This could have forced the government to settle on favourable terms to the NUM. Yet the book goes on to proclaim the strike was doomed from the outset. The book concludes by backing Kinnock's shameful claim that the tactics of Scargill & the striking miners kept the Tory government in power until 1997.I would recommend 'The Enemy Within' by Seamus Milne & the 'The Great Strike' by Alex Callincos & Mike Simons. Both these books reflect the voice of the men & women involved on the ground, something missing from this account.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 1 July 2014
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I can recommend this book , we are enjoying it very much.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tap dancing through a minefield, 11 Dec. 2013
The Hollywood producer Robert Evans remarked of his own autobiography 'There are three sides to every story, yours, mine and the truth'. Apt words from an odd source to describe any attempt to tell the story of the 1984/5 Miner's Strike. Even today the protagonists or their friends and comrades rail against attempts to tell the story of the strike that don't see it their way - just read a few other reviews. Marching Against the Fault Line on the whole seems to be fairly even handed in its approach, offers new insights from those that finally thought enough water had passed under the bridge (clearly not as it turns out). We will never know the whole truth because two of the main players can no longer or will not speak - and were both as intransigent when it comes to admitting failure, weakness or guilt that we'd be none the wiser. The opening of government papers under the 30 year rule may reveal more detail but in the meantime this book is probably as good as it gets.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marching to the fault line, 19 Jan. 2010
By 
J. J. Mason "john m" (England S.Yorks) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Having spent many years in the coal industry, in both production and industrial relations, this book makes an interesting read and viewpoint of those involved in the strife in industry.
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40 of 55 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Marching to the Fault Line, 4 May 2009
By 
This review is by George Galloway MP. I am an Honorary Member of the National Union of Mineworkers (South Wales Area:Maerdy Lodge)and was an active supporter of the Miners Strike from it's first day to the last. I was a personal friend of NUM Vice President Michael McGahey from the mid 1970s until his death. I scarcely know Arthur Scargill personally.
A better title for this book would be "Dancing on the Miners' Grave". It is little more than a piece of historical strikebreaking and its authors should be ashamed of themselves. I am particularly outraged at the authors' attempt to draft the late Mr McGahey as a scab, attributing to him comments about Mr Scargill and about his conduct of the strike which he never once divulged to me - his friend - but appears to have done to self-serving actors in this drama. Worse, the authors' with no living reference to rely on,praise Mr McGahey for attempting to strike a deal with the Thatcher government "behind (Scargill's)back" which means behind the back of the NUM.This is foul falshood and if the authors are believed constitutes the besmirching of the reputation of a great fighter for the working class. McGahey would never have done such a thing which would have been a reversal of all his instincts and training and a stain on his unimpeachable record.I had hundreds of hours of conversations with Michael McGahey before during and after the Miners Strike. At NO time did he ever insult Mr Scargill - in fact on the night he introduced me to Scargill in the Salutation Hotel Perth almost thirty years ago he gave ME a lengthy and patient talking to about MY reservations about Scargill.
McGahey, until the day he died, never resiled from his role in the leadership of the strike, nor compromised the unity of its leading figures.
To rely on discredited and self-interested critics of the strike like Kevin Barron MP and Lord Kinnock to suggest otherwise is shameful.
The Miners Strike of 1984/85 remains the most heroic defence of the rights of working people since the 1920s. The Miners were right. Their Union was right. Its leaders were right. The Miners were defeated because the labour movement failed to come sufficiently to their aid.Those who failed to do so are the very sources for this despicable book. The Miners defeat pressaged the defeat of trades unionism in Britain in general. Something I remember both McGahey and Scargill saying clearly at the time. This book isn't even worthy of being tossed in a pickets brazier.
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