Monday, 10 January 2011

GB84 by David Peace

A combination of thriller, mystery and historical commentary, GB84 is a diary of the General Strike of 1984, running week by week through the lives of those effected, from government advisers and Union Representatives to the miners and police on the front line.  In my opinion, Peace gives a well balanced account of the events, highlighting questionable choices on both parts and not judging the people involved, but leaving the reader to come to their own determination as to who was in the right.

As we watch trust break down among friends and colleagues and violence increase I can only be reminded of attitudes usually attributed to WW2: Stick Together but Don't Trust Anybody. As unions and government talk of loyalty to the cause, the question arises as to what is more important; the life and rights of an individual, or the greater good for the greatest number of people, and does this excuse the extraordinary measures taken by the police to intimidate and brutalise the public that they are sworn to defend, or the disruption of an entire nation by the NUM.

What is most important though, is that this book is a bloody good interesting read which will get you thinking as to the changes of the last 25 years, and how a different outcome would have changed the way we live today.

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